Friday, November 21, 2008

The Favorite Aunt

I attended a niece's wedding a few months ago and during a family dinner we had to stand and introduce ourselves. I introduced myself as the "Favorite Aunt." Actually I am not the favorite aunt. Let me tell you about the favorite aunt. Next week she would have been 47...instead she left us at 32.

(Pictured with some of her many nieces and nephews. All the little girls in this picture are married now. The one in the lower right corner is expecting a baby of her own soon. The favorite aunt is holding Daughter #2. Daughter #1 is in the front, center.)

She was the most honest person I know. Let me tell you a story about her:

Once we were returning back from a trip to Utah. In our car, we had a box of delicious apples that we had purchased in Utah. We were planning on taking them home with us to California.

In Yermo, CA at the State Agricultural Inspection station, they were stopping cars. I knew there was the possibilty that they would be asking drivers if they had any fruits or vegetables. They didn't always do this...just sometimes. Well, I was saying that we'll just hide our box of apples, put them under some coats in the back seat. If they asked, we would say NO and just drive on. No big deal, right?

My sister was the driver and was getting more and more nervous as we approached the inspection station. So I helped her 'rehearse' our little lie. I acted the part of an agricultural inspector and asked, "Where are you coming from ladies?" My sister would answer, "Utah." I would say, "Do you have any fruits or vegetables with you that you may have purchased from Utah?" And then my sister was to answer, "No sir." Then I'm sure he would just tell us to drive on.

We finally approached the inspection station. Sure enough, the inspector asks, "Where are you coming from ladies?" My sister answered on cue, "Utah." I was thinking this is great. Our little plan was working beautifully! Then the inspector asked "Do you have any fruits or vegetables with you that you may have purchased from Utah?" My sister paused. I'll never forget what she did next. She turns to the back seat and lifts up the coats. Underneath was our big box of apples. She said, "What about apples?"

The inspector confiscated our box of apples and that was that. We never saw them again. (I guess they suspected fruit flies or something...I don't know.) As we drove on, there was silence between us for many miles. After all, what was I going to do? Yell at her for being honest? It taught me a lesson I never forgot.

Above: Here we are at our apartment at BYU with our roommate Carol. We were 'pretending' that we loved washing dishes.

Above: The favorite aunt on her LDS mission in Louisiana. She loved the people there. I read her mission journal recently. She had many wonderful experiences. See, she wore a fedora before Britney Spears!

Above: This picture shows me and my sister in our backyard about 1969. This picture typifies our personalities, I think. I am the one showing off and she is the one watching me.
The favorite aunt left us in 1994 after a two-year battle with cancer. She always loved and cared for her nieces and nephews. Never forgot a birthday. Attended all their blessings and baptisms. She was my best friend and I think about her everyday. I believe things are still much like that picture above. I am still showing off and she is still watching me. Only now she's watching me from heaven.

A quilt I finished recently...
Since the fires, I have been behind with my work.
Don't you love this fabric?
Have a good weekend, blogging friends!


Sherri said...

What a beautiful, sweet tribute to your sister. I'm sure she's watching over you!

Thimbleanna said...

What a touching post Vivian. You brought tears to my eyes.

Shana May Rodriguez said...

That was beautiful! I will always remember Vanette and the memories of coming home to your house after Sacrament meeting, those were good times. OK, you made me cry!!

Kara & Levi said...

I really LOVE that post about my aunt Vanette! And all my aunts are my favorite aunts!!! She was amazing for all the little things she did for us. She rocked and I know she's rockin' it in heaven! I love you Vivi!!! And don't you love how I look so cross-eyed in that little old picture of all of us??? Luckily, nobody smacked me on the back or anything to make them get stuck.

LaVonne said...

I too miss Vanette. And think about her all the time. We shared some good times together. Our road trip to Utah. Touring together in New Zealand. (her driving skills she almost killed us in NZ)Going to the beach. Paying to get into a Young Adult dance only to turn around and head to Denny's. Me trying to grab her deformed thumb. My family always says that Vanette never said a bad thing about anyone. She is a great friend. Your post brought back many memories. Thanks for making me cry.

Material Mary said...

I really love reading your blog and come away with thoughts to always do better in everything I do. Thanks

~Angie said...

O.K. I'm crying in my morning cereal! What a wonderful post about your sister. It was beautiful. It made me think I need to spend more time with my one and only sister. Thank you.

Emily Lynn said...

Vivian that was so sweet! Thank you for writing about Aunt Vanette! She was so special and it always brings a smile to my face when I think about all our fun memories with her! Have a happy thanksgiving this week!!

Utah MOM OF 7 said...

I'm crying too while my turkey is baking. My favorite memory of my sister Vanette as little girls is memorizing "Twas the Night Before Christmas" with her in our double bed as we tried to fall asleep. We each took turns saying it to the other, until it was finally memorized. Took us several days. We were so amazing! Now, as I read this story to my Emma, it brings back memories of my older sister. Oh. And I started collecting ceramic mice.