Last week one day, I stopped by Marty's aunt's house to drop something off. She and her husband were sitting out under the porch enjoying the coolness of the morning. Aunt Helen asked me to join them, mentioned that she was just about to make herself a cup of tea, and bustled off to the kitchen to fix me a cup, too.
That's always the first order of a visit to her home. Refreshment. Usually in the form of a hot cup of tea or a cold soda. And sometimes a piece of flavored angel food cake that she bought at market or homemade oatmeal-raisin cookies in which she threw a handful of cranberries for good measure.
After settling in, the conversation turned to her flowers and the birds at her feeder. Aunt Helen is like a walking nature guide. If I can't find a bird in one of my resource books, I take the description to her and she pulls out her old bird book to double-check her identification. Sometimes, she comes to the farm for afternoon tea and looks at my garden and tells me the names of the flowers I don't know. On this recent visit, she took me up the hill in her yard and told me about the types of trees she has. When I commented that I found the seed pods of her Golden Chain Tree lovely, she tore off several small branches for me to take home and tuck in a vase to enjoy.
That's the other thing that Aunt Helen's known for. You don't leave her house without something in your hands. Whether it's some vegetables from the garden or a few bags of the latest tea she bought or a catalog of interest, there's always a take-home treat. And it's a little dangerous to mention that you like something of her's, you just might go home with it.
She's become very precious to me. Because she always acts like you're doing her the favor. Because she'd literally give you the shirt off her back. Because she would read this post and wonder what all the fuss is about.
And, because I get way more refreshment from her than just a cup of tea.