Great Aunt Bessie and the Good People
Have you ever had an older relative love you steadfastly? Have you ever listened to someone tell stories of when you were a toddler that embarrass you and warm your tummy?
Well, my Great Aunt Bessie is here to visit, and the stories are flowing. She's eighty-eight and regaled us with stories all night. We listened in shifts. On the ride home from the airport, she spoke exclusively to my husband. About me. She crooned that I was such a loving child. When we arrived home she flirted with my stepson.
Sitting on the couch, she spoke to all the teens athletes in our family about cultivating good habits. "You can't hoot with the owls by night and soar with the eagles by day." If you stay up all night drinking and smoking, you will not be able to keep up during the day. Stay focused was her instruction.
Later over dinner, Aunty held forth about baseball, including the times she saw Satchel Paige pitch. My Aunty's father listened to baseball on the radio, and they would often go to double-headers in Cleveland. Every time she said the words: "My father" her tone was full of love and respect. I never met him in person but I felt his energy. Her father, my Great Grandfather, gave her and her sister a deep sense of protection.
My daughter and I are not avid baseball fans so we went to do an ab workout. When I returned, Aunty was telling my husband about facing down jim crow in Savannah, Georgia. My aunt moved there from Cleveland in the early 1950s with her military husband. On one occasion, she refused to buy a hat that she had tried on even though they called the police on her. Fortunately, the commanding officer at Hunter Air Force base came and took her back to the base. President Truman had integrated the military. According to Aunty, "Truman wanted a salt and pepper army." Today, Aunty still carries her military wife i.d. As I listened to her story, I wondered if I would've had the courage to risk arrest and hostility in Georgia in 1951.
My Great Aunt Bessie reminds me that I come from what she calls "good people." Not perfect people. (She freely admits to getting falling down drunk --literally--when she went to a Ray Charles concert at a dinner club.) Good people. Not superior people. But people who contributed to others. Not rich people. Good people.
Here's the kicker: My Great Aunt Bessie is not my biological aunt. Her father was not her biological father. Good people cultivate love, connection and safety wherever they go. Let's be "Good People."
Peace and love!
P.S.--Meditation increases your capacity to love, connect and feel safe. Join me in 30 Days with Dr. Amanda Kemp Meditation Challenge.