Saturday, April 08, 2006

in the company of old folks

Three Generations

It was a weekend not to miss. I have missed too many of these short get-togethers in which my Aunt from NYC joins my Aunt from Oregon (with her husband, the retired surgeon) in a visit to my Dad's home in Albuquerque. My older son had expressed interest in going. At age 21, he has developed a great sense of what is important in life and wanted to spend some time with these relatives that we hadn’t seen in ten years. He shares my love of photography and we talk about going on road trips to wander and take photos.

So, on a Friday afternoon, my son picked me up at the airport (I was returning from another adventure!) and we headed south. It is about a seven-hour drive and we decided that it would be better to get in late and have all of Saturday with the family. The drive down was a grind - rush hour traffic from Denver south to Colorado Springs. And we didn’t even take photos, feeling the pull to just get there.

My sister lives there too, so we arrived early morning on Saturday and stayed with her. After a good night sleep on the floor on one of those air mattresses that doesn’t hold air, we were ready for a visit with the Aunts and Uncle.

When I was growing up, I got to see these Aunts periodically and in true teenage fashion, I would roll my eyes and think HOW ODD these ladies were.
Now as an adult, I embrace their uniqueness and revel in how engaged they are in life – just the way I want to be when I am 80 years old. The Aunt from NYC was a medical researcher and has lived in an apartment one block from Central Park for years and years. She never married. She loves dogs and happily volunteers to walk her neighbors’ dogs in the park. Also, she still plays tennis on the Central Park courts (which they sometimes have to shovel clear of snow to play!). My Oregon aunt raised six children most of whom became medical doctors (or are all in the medical field) and after they grew up, she entered politics and served one term as the mayor of her city. She has been married for close to 60 years to my uncle who is a surgeon, finally retired but still assisting in the operating room. We had a wonderful visit, each of us having one-on-one time with each other. These are strong, assertive women, yet kind and loving. I don’t believe I could have had any better role models if I had gone out searching. They are curious about life and seem to appreciate every experience as it unfolds.

My sister had told me ahead of time that they would all be playing a board game. I have always hated board games and was anticipating – here we go again. But the game was called ‘Mexican Train’ a variation of dominoes and it was fun. We played for several hours and playing allowed us plenty of time to talk.

I am so glad I decided to make the effort to drive down and have this time with my elderly relatives. It is so true: Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable. Time is our greatest resource.

We headed back to Denver early afternoon on Sunday. Our goal was to stop along the way and take some photos.

Another adventure, another post!


At 4:56 PM, Blogger George said...

Extremely cool.

I so know where you are coming from, my 86 year old great aunt passed away last year and our son got to see her the day before she died.

When I'm old and feeble-I'm gonna tell great stories:-)

At 5:54 PM, Blogger the old bag said...

Great post -- with age we begin to appreciate greatness in our elders!

At 9:34 AM, Blogger SiouxZQue said...

SO who's who in the pics??

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Ptelea said...

Welcome siouxzque! So glad you stopped by.

from left to right:

In the first photo:
ptelea, uncle John (distinguished retired surgeon who just couldn't resist putting his fingers up behind my aunt and me!!), aunt Ruth(who is my father's sister), my 21 year old son

In the second photo:
aunt Jane from NYC, aunt Ruth

In the third photo:
aunt Ruth, my sister Claire, ptelea


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