I was babysitting my nephew, Orion, yesterday when sometime between a meal and a nap he became inconsolable. Thanks to my knowledge and application of the scientific method, and after a variety of failed attempts at vaudeville, to which he did not respond, my eyes beheld a magical contraption of wheeled machinery. After several moments of struggle and a few unsavory words a hidden button revealed itself which when pushed sprang open the device. Having never thought I would have to know such information as why babies are crying, when they need to eat or nap or even what games they like to play, you can imagine my surprise when a seat-like space opened before me. I intuited the baby went there, as there was a belting safety measure built-in to the contraption. It was by sheer force of will and a desperate attempt at entertaining Monsieur Orion that we soon found ourselves strolling along the promenade of Whispering Winds Apartments.
As it was raining we were obligated to stay within the covered walkways along the courtyard. I soon found myself in quiet meditation as the no-longer-crying baby cooed and oohed over the light rain and cool breeze, an unexpected delight for Texas summer. Ivy hanging from wrought-iron railings swayed and dripped with fresh rain. Fern leaves heavy with fat drops drooped down from pots along the narrow corridor, dripping on Orion's passing toes. For 45 minutes we strolled back and forth, to and fro, baby and Auntie content at last. When we reached areas with no overhead shelter, I ran and squealed thinking Orion would find it exciting. He registered his dismay by wiping at his wet face with a drool-covered hand.
Soon we met Marty. Marty was an older woman in her 70s with bright, pale green eyes. She had a little dog named Bubba whom she said is very good with babies. Bubba licked Orion's toes and Orion drooled on Bubba's ears. A fair trade, I thought. Marty and I talked and soon I learned about her life as a singer in a band. It was her husband’s band and they played back-up for the likes of George Jones, Conway Twitty and Willie Nelson. Her eyes lit up and she leaned in close when she whispered about how different Willie looked today than when he first started out. “That hair,” she said, and then louder, “He used to always wear a tie, too!”
Marty sang lead for the band and her husband played guitar. They traveled all over the United States, coast-to-coast, hitting every bar and honky tonk across the land. “Later on, when we became Christians, we took our music to the church and had a great time there!” Didn't make the same money, I reckoned.
She told me about a woman she met at church who she recognized from a show 30 years ago in Houston. The woman was a child at the time and Marty recognized her face. I found that remarkable. Marty said, “Well it’s a face! How can you forget someone you see? I knew her father who had brought her to the show, but that was the first and last time I saw her. I just don’t understand why some people don’t remember faces.”
After 15 minutes of chatting with Marty, Bubba and Orion grew bored with each other’s drool. We parted ways but not before Marty invited me over in a sing-song voice I could never say “no” to, “Well come on up and see me anytime, number 12. And bring the little one, Bubba will entertain him! I’m moving soon. I’m going to re-register for my Citizens on Patrol license and then I gotta get moving to Houston.” Her eyes were alive and dancing as she talked about her active and full life. “Marty,” I said, “If you promise to talk me about all the stuff you won’t talk about in church, I’ll be there.” She laughed with delight and said she’d pray about it. God, I hope you say yes.
|Green Ribbon Auntie Lesson: Babies are a great way to meet new people.|