The roads were not plowed last night, not even I-84. It took us an extra half an hour to get home from Aunt Eda’s birthday party. Cars were sliding and fishtailing downhill and we had our own moments of tension as we tried to avoid hitting other cars. Jack welcomed us home as excitedly as usual, even though he had looked disappointed when we left him behind. His bunny in his mouth, then the socks, then the glove, circling around, then all of a sudden realizing,”Food!”, sliding on the kitchen floor toward the counter, looking up expectantly. Jack. He is such a good boy.
Aunt Eda turned 90. She looks great, sweet and smiling as usual. She shows me the two photo albums that Heidi put together for her. She laughs and shakes her head as she points to the “pinup” pictures that were sent to the “guys” during the war. Very glamorous, I agree! Eda, sitting on the hood of a car with her legs crossed, tight skirt, high heels, and a hat. Her again, standing sideways with shorts, high heels and a tight top – “That’s what we used to do, you know”, she smiles. Then photos of weddings, her four children, one by one added to the album, some with goofy looks, big ears. Bethany, one of the granddaughters, leans over and asks incredulous, “Nooo, is that my dad?”. Then she starts laughing uncontrollably. Old pictures that everybody wants to see. No pictures from the recent past, though – we all commiserate about our lack of discipline in printing our best digital images to be enjoyed some day just as we do now. The party is at the firehouse. That’s where all aunt Eda’s big family parties have taken place since I have been part of the family (unless it’s summer, then they are outdoors in backyards). It’s a pretty dreadful place (hanging moose head included), but it works. There is a kitchen, the bathrooms are clean, it’s spacious. This is where Aunt Eda met Uncle Walt – square dancing. The great-grandchildren run around, play on the small stage at one end of the large room, play with the piano, sit under the piano, and keep themselves entertained. Two-year old Lincoln (he will turn 3 later this spring) accepts a Snapple from his mom, thanks her for “giving Lincoln the drink” and informs her that she can leave, now. The party winds downs. Eda’s three sons and my husband, the cousin, talk and talk, grey hairs, beards (what’s with all the long beards, I wonder), and/or mustaches making them “look so old” (so texts me back Giulia when I send her their picture). So old. It hits me – we are getting old, although we all think we are so young, kept young by our very old aunts and uncles.