By Don Lindsey
Since my column last week when I talked about getting into the holiday spirit, I’ve been thinking back fondly on past Christmas memories from my childhood. Being the baby of the family, I was spoiled to say the least with gifts and plenty of sibling help to assemble the various toys and such that I would rake in each year. Looking back on it, Christmas for me as a kid was all about the prospect of presents and goodies waiting on me to open. Now, I wish I would have spent more time plugged into my family and making time with individuals through conversation instead of just focusing on what I had received on Christmas morning.
One of the individuals that I wished I had spent more time with is my Aunt Helen. That is saying a lot considering the fact that I spent quite a bit of time with her as a kid and during my early adulthood when I lived with her due to having a job close to where her apartment was. There were more than a few years when she’d come over on Christmas day with my cousin Denny and help my mom prepare food while using her charm and quick sense of humor to brighten up any room, she was in.
I’ve always loved and respected my aunt. When I was younger that was because I admired her ability to be brutally honest. This “tell it like it is” approach made me more comfortable to talk with her about any problems that I may have been having because I knew that she wouldn’t tell me what I wanted to hear but instead, what I needed to hear. While these things were important for me as a youth, there was more to admire about Helen than I knew of at the time.
She had two sons, one of which was born with special needs. Out of respect for the situation, I will not go into a lot of information but will say that while I was spending so much time around Helen growing up, I saw her personally take care of Denny. As a matter of fact, they helped each other. Denny would run errands and help with house work while Helen managed everything else. Even after all of these years later, they still practice this method with Helen 90 years old and Denny well into his 70’s.
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to talk with Helen but the last time I did, I was amazed by how sharp she still is which makes me think about all the crazy jokes and off the wall sayings she’s said over the years that I’ve adopted as my own. We also had a nice moment where we just talked about my kids and what was going on in our lives which reminded me of those quiet conversations when I would get advice from her or listen to her explain something in a way I hadn’t thought of. Even at 90 years old she still is the perfect blend of class and sass and I thank the good Lord for having her in my family and as such an important part of my life.
Don Lindsey is a follower of Christ, son, husband, father, and a survivor. Originally from Dayton Ohio, and resident of Apopka for six years, Don sees his life as a dedication to his wife, parents, children, and community.