My Aunt Lois, the wife of Daddy’s older brother, Ralph (who died a number of years ago) has joined her husband in heaven.
When I was younger, I was intimidated by Aunt Lois. She was outgoing, confident, boisterous, fun-loving. I was shy, reserved, insecure. I didn’t know anyone like her.
She was a wonderful mother to my cousins Jimmy, Kathy, Johnny, and Terry.
Daddy’s side of the family often enjoyed playing cards, especially Shanghai Rummy. As a kid, I remember how excitable the games could get. I’d usually have my nose in a book upstairs, or sitting next to Daddy, trying to learn.
Every gathering brought with it, the same familiar phrases everyone enjoyed over and over, usually uttered by someone left holding a stack of cards with lots of points at the end of a hand.
“Lord, don’t make him too schmaht,” in an attempted German accent was a popular one.
And others I cannot recall at the moment, except this one.
I’d heard it often, and by everyone I’m sure. However, one night, I was sitting between Daddy and Aunt Lois. Someone, I think it was my Uncle Fritz, laid down their last cards to win the hand.
Aunt Lois turned to me directly and smiled, “Never give a bug a break, give a bug a boo.”
I was caught off guard. She looked right at me as she said it. It might not be a big deal for some, but when I was a kid, I did my best to be invisible to grown-ups especially. I was timid and did not want to bring attention to myself.
Here I was though, sitting next to Daddy, though I was a little bit back from the table. And Aunt Lois wouldn’t let me be invisible.
At first it scared me. But within a moment, I saw her grin as she spoke, and the reassuring twinkle in her eyes made me smile, too.
As I got older and sometimes even joined the card games, we were always cordial and shared pleasantries when we saw each other, but that was about it.
In 2008, Daddy had heart surgery and I was in Ohio with him for several months–before, during, and after. It was during this time I was fortunate to have Aunt Lois as a real go-to. She was incredibly supportive to both Daddy and me.
It surprised me when I realized how much she knew about my life. Where I’d been, what was going on at the time, what my dreams were.
Though I hadn’t known her very well, it turns out, she knew, through Daddy, and remembered, a lot about me.
We spoke often, though usually on the phone. She was constantly concerned how Daddy was doing, but never failed to make sure I was taking care of myself.
I was blessed to have found this connection with Aunt Lois during this difficult time.
I was trying to find a picture of her, but couldn’t. I’ll post one when I do.
I am grateful that I was blessed to get to have a loving bond with Aunt Lois when I needed her most.
Never give a bug a break, Aunt Lois. Give a bug a boo.