I don’t know what it was about this snow lady, standing stoically in a field, a twig wreath circling her head, a haiku circling my brain. She looked like she had a story to tell – and she reminded me of my Aunt Babe.
Perhaps it was the twig wreath. My aunt had thin, gray hair that never seemed to go where it should, and she didn’t seem to care. She wasn’t one for fashion, though I think she was in her younger years from pictures I’ve seen. Surely she was when she danced in ballets.
Her name was Isabel. Everyone called her Babe, which was more fitting a name for her. A force to be reckoned with, Aunt Babe could be very generous, was an excellent cook, and shared many recipes with me (though she was notorious for leaving out an ingredient or changing a measurement). My aunt made frequent trips to several branches of the Chicago public library. A voracious reader, she also regularly whipped her seven brothers and sister (my mom) into shape, as well as her own five children, not to mention the rest of the clan. She could cut any one of us to shreds with her tongue, in an instant, but defended and protected us from others like a Marine.
Babe was once mugged on a platform of the Chicago El. Badly bruised, she was admitted to the hospital. She gave a detailed description. The mugger never did get her books of S & H Green Stamps. I think she pummeled him with her purse, which would have carried far more than those redemption stamps. We had our private, childish chuckles over Babe’s S & H stamps, but, I had to admire her tenacity.
I was afraid of Babe until I was about 18. Then, I tolerated her for my mother’s sake when Ma was widowed. Eventually, I grew to appreciate Aunt Babe’s strengths and hidden compassion. After my mother passed away, Aunt Babe called me almost every Sunday, checking up, chatting, gossiping (oh, she was one of the best gossips I’ve ever known). As time went on, the calls from her new residence in Michigan came erratically. Sometimes weeks would pass. Other times they came several times a week. Her mind started wandering, then, so did she.
Suddenly, she was gone, like a nor’easter finally blown out. I miss Aunt Babe sometimes. her outlandish stories, her bossyness, her cooking – and her wicked sense of humor. I guess this snowy babe in the fields was just one of those things placed in my path at a time I was waiting for memories.
Soft, round bosom in
Cold, wet snow reminds me of
Babe long, long ago