Here are two tales, two contrasting portraits, of the ways we can choose to live.
Aunt Eva was one of my grandmother's eight siblings all born in the 19th century. She was a spinster by constitution, even if for a time briefly married to Archie. Among my great aunts, she was in body and in style the most angular. She was nice enough, but she was excessively particular about everything. Persnickety captures her.
One Sunday afternoon I was standing in Aunt Eva's shared nursing home room alongside her small beige metal sidetable. Even as a 10-year-old, it was clear to me that Aunt Eva's world had been compressed to the things that could be set on that very neatly ordered surface. She was highly protective of her well-ordered little world.
Fidgeting, I made my error. I picked up Aunt Eva's metal Vaseline tube and squeezed it top to bottom, bottom to top, middle to both ends. Unashamedly, I just did it, again and again. What followed was a stern and protracted lecture from Aunt Eva about ...1