Aunt Jeanne

We eased through the peeling white picket fence gate. The yard was a knot of wild growth--former beauty according to a plan, but now, like unruly children, was having its way. We pulled the iron knocker on the little stucco bungalow and let the metallic thump announce our arrival. We could hear her chanting as she approached the door in a sing-song voice that could annoy or bring a smile to my face, depending on how I felt about the piercing tone. She struggled a to pull the big old door open, but soon enough, there she was in her bright glory thrilled to see us. She pulled us in with the force of her command. Inside, the smell of oldness could not hide the aroma of something cooking in the kitchen. The cozy house was crammed with a lifetime of possessions that seemed to have doubled since her sons and husband left years ago. But the focus of her life, and most interesting to us, was the paintings everywhere. On the dining table, one lay on its back, resting from her exhausting application of impasto piles of acrylic paint. More canvases stood on the buffet and hung on the walls. She directed us into the sun room where we were guests to the multitude of works both complete and in-progress. Here she was, in the final chapter of her life--alone and filling her days with beauty that she created with her hand from visions in her mind of the world around her. And soon, she would see it all more clearly when she joined Jesus in heaven where she would receive a welcome greeting.

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