This past weekend, Jim and I took a little get-away. We drove down to Hollister, which is my hometown. Hollister is a small town in a pastoral setting with orchards and fields, cows and sheep, set against the Gabilan mountain range. As we drove along I noticed many of the walnut and prune orchards where I used to play, were gone, save a few trees here and there. In their place were businesses and homes. Main street hadn't changed much and Jim drove slow as I pointed out scenes from my childhood.
The purpose of our trip was to see my Aunt Leona and Uncle Ed, my aunt being an older sister of my mother's. We went through the back door (like family does) and as Auntie "O" met me, I felt comforted and welcome.
My aunt and uncle are in their 80's and have been married 61 years. I like that. Its something I can see Jim and I doing. They take care of each other, making sure each are safe and loved. They listen and joke and share, and even though they are aging, they remain fresh, informed and involved. They volunteer, socialize, lead a faith-based life and have a lot of fun. As the afternoon wore on and we talked and talked, I am reminded that I am very much like my aunt. I like that too.
Also, that afternoon, Jim spent some time with my uncle, riding in a golf cart, in their rural neighborhood dotted with small ranches. Uncle Ed pointed out people and places and talked about his childhood. Not having a father growing up, I know Jim appreciates the time and attention my uncle shows him. Jim is also very much like my uncle: Strong and grounded; a funny guy with a big heart and a healthy respect for family.
Jim and I will be in our 80's one day. And I'll be honest, I will welcome each and every line on our faces as long as they bring us the joy, love, wisdom and beauty they have brought my aunt and uncle.