It was still dark on my way into work this morning. No snow, thank goodness, but still cloudy and grey. No traffic due to the Holiday week, Amen! I kept the radio off. Sometimes I enjoy the quiet. No sports, no Katy Perry wanting to have sex with aliens at 7:00 am.
It was one of those days when the car drove by itself. I love it when that happens and I somehow get to my destination safely. On the unusually empty highway, I looked over and saw a van. It had a logo on it: Hobart Industries. And there it was. The little spark that I’d waited to come, but didn’t quite know what I was waiting for. I just knew that it would. Hobart.
I had an Uncle Hobie. He was married to my Aunt Lucy. He was probably in his 60’s when I was born. As a child, to me he was always older. But darling. He was tall, with dark hair, always combed back. A jacket and tie. And the cigar, always the cigar. It is impossible for me to smell a cigar in a room and not think of Uncle Hobie instantly. He had a deep raspy voice and was always good to all us kids. I can hear him, see him and smell him even as I type this. I can hear his loud chuckle, “Ha HAA!” I miss him.
Aunt Lucy, Aunt Eunice and my grandmother were sisters. Muriel, Lucy and Eunice.
Eunice doubled as Boonie. More often, we called Aunt Eunice – Aunt Boonie. Got that?
We'd celebrate the three sister's birthdays together, a reason to party. Aunt Boonie would come stay with us. She loved the old Archway windmill cookies. My mom bought them only when she’d come. A giant treat – to have Aunt Boonie and the cookies. Heaven in 1975.
In their older years, Uncle Hobie, Aunt Lucy and Aunt Boonie lived together. They’d go on a drive every day. Hobie would cross his feet over to use the brake and the gas pedals. Yikes! Always dressed up, they’d go out to lunch. On the days when we were growing up in the big house, all 7 of us kids home, my mom would be exhausted. Just when she’d be at her most tired, about to steal away for a nap, she’d look out the front window. Here Lucy, Hobie and Boonie would come - walking up the driveway for a visit. Hobie in his jacket and tie. Lucy in her hat and costume jewelry. Boonie, with her perfect dark hair. Out would come the coffee pot.
It seemed by the time I knew them, they were already old and had lived their whole lives. Now they had time to lunch and visit and come to baptisms and first communions. So many family functions and all three would come together.
Now all of them have been gone for over 20 years. Impossible. How can my children not know them? Hobie, Lucy, Boonie and Gram? They are no doubt with my two in Heaven. They must’ve been a giant welcoming committee when my dad got to Heaven himself.
“Tommy! There you are, we’ve been waiting!”
Well now I am verklempt, thinking of these wonderful people. Who knew the little Hobart van I saw this morning would make me so nostalgic? Perhaps Hobie did and he’s popping through to say hello.
I’ve reserved a booth at a greasy spoon restaurant. Let’s have lunch!
How fun that would be.