Thursday, March 03, 2005

Aunt Frieda and the Birthday Party

Aunt Frieda came to town for Sprout's birthday last week, and as usual, chaos followed closely at her heels.

Despite her problematic interpersonal skills, Aunt Frieda is getting older and is becoming physically more frail. This gives me a lot of internal conflict: we don't get along and I don't trust her as far as I can spit, but she's getting more and more in need of help from someone and I am the closest family member around. The arthritis in her knees is getting so bad that she either uses a wheelchair or walks six steps and then has to sit down (scurry, sit, scurry, sit).

So, the birthday party.

On Sprout's birthday, I had said that she should come over at about 7:00 p.m. and we'd have a small party (Jim was working, so it was just going to be me, Sprout, and Auntie F.). Aunt Frieda always stays at my cousin's house when she is in town, and at quarter to seven she called to say she's coming. Sprout and I took up our places at the front window to watch for her, so I could help her in with her stuff. They were again digging up the street (as always), and had one end of it blocked off. Aunt Frieda is a smart woman, so I assumed that she would circle the block and drive in on the other end of the street. Then a half an hour passed, and she didn't come and didn't come. I started to wonder, 'Is she stuck at the end of the street in her car?', 'Did she fall down the stairs at my cousin's house?', 'Should Sprout and I drive around looking for her?'

During this half hour of waiting, I would occasionally hear *Thump!* or *Thump! Thump!* behind me. Everytime I would turn to yell at Jack the cat for thumping (i.e. doing bad cat things), he seemed to be not doing anything bad. I never connected the thumping to Aunt Frieda.

All of a sudden, after a prolonged period of waiting, there she was on the front porch. "Where did you come from?!?", I asked, since I hadn't seen her pull up. "I had a bad experience," she said. Instead of coming around the block, she had decided to drive down the back alley (Aunt Frieda has always loved back alleys, so this wasn't too unexpected). She got her car stuck in the deep snow in the alley. "The Lord is so good to me!", she said, "I got stuck RIGHT behind your house." After spinning her wheels and trying to drive out of the stuck patch for ten minutes (and somehow avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning), Aunt Frieda got out of the car with her cane and walked all the way to the house. Through snow up to her knees. It took her fifteen minutes to get sixty feet. And the *thump! thump!* was her leaning heavily against the house every few steps, as she tottered to the front door.

"What if you had fallen?!?", I demanded. "Oh, I could have crawled to the house," she said, matter-of-factly. 'Yeah,' I thought, 'Or maybe freeze to death in the backyard, with me and Sprout driving around looking for you.' Aaagghhhh.

Sprout enjoyed the evening thoroughly. There was excitement. He and Aunt Frieda got to watch Mummy and the Tow Truck Man get the car out ("Big machine!" "Lights on top!"). At some point there was cake, singing, presents, etc. He learned how to blow out the candles, and spent 10 minutes pushing candles down deep inside the cake because it was so much fun.

All in all, a good party. And to top it all off, Aunt Frieda didn't die in the backyard. Intrepid, yet annoying. That's my Aunt Frieda.


Blogger Eileen said...

I'm also glad Aunt Frieda didn't die in your backyard. That would have been most unpleasant...yet so like her, in some ways.

6:36 pm  
Blogger Carmi said...

She sounds like an original, your Aunt Frieda. Thanks for sharing the experience with such a happy tone. Priceless.

I think we all have a relative like her somewhere.

1:26 pm  

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