When Uncle Love died, Aunt Lucy moved up from Pensacola to live with Aunt Irene, commanding half of Aunt Rene’s house as storage space for her clothes and furniture. No doubt about it, Aunt Lucy, an active Eastern Star member, was a clotheshorse. Aunt Rene and Aunt Lucy – the Girls, I call them – spent most of their time sitting in front of the space heater in the kitchen or sleeping in the big sleigh bed Aunt Rene and Uncle Bill slept in their entire married life.
We knew it was time to move The Girls to new accommodations when they began taking frequent naps throughout the day, and thinking it was morning every time they woke from a nap to see daylight through the window and going right into the kitchen to take their tablets. I found an assisted living facility, liked it, and arranged for a tour and lunch. I invited the entire family and told the staff at the facility that if they had a single man who was available to lunch with us, that would seal the deal for Aunt Rene and make our job much, much easier.
Aunt Rene, you see, was a lifelong flirt. She liked men, there’s just no other way to say it. The story goes that she went on a date with someone other than her fiancé the night before her wedding. “Darlin’,” she told me, “I know I’d said ‘Yes’, but to tell you the truth, I just couldn’t make up my mind.” Let my daughter Alison bring a date to a family gathering, and Aunt Rene would latch onto him before he got both feet through the door. She’d sidle up next to him, put her arm through his, look at him coquettishly and ask, “Sugar, do you have any younger brothers?”
Yes, Aunt Irene was a flirt. Absolutely.
Now she had her own boyfriend throughout her eighties, Aunt Rene did, and his name was Mr. Luther. They were an item, seeing each other daily, going to church together, going out to eat, walking around town. Sometimes Mr. Luther just spent the afternoon and evening – evening, not night – at Aunt Rene’s house, playing cards, eating supper, watching tv. But after years of comfortable togetherness, Mr. Luther broke up with Aunt Irene on her back door steps saying she spent more time with Aunt Lucy than she spent with him and he just couldn’t take it any longer.
We view the beautifully appointed assisted living facility, seeing several available apartments, the game room, the fitness room, the library, and the mailboxes. Our tour culminates in the private dining room, where who to our wondering eyes doth appear to be waiting to have lunch with us but . . . Mr. Luther.
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