Friday, November 21, 2008

A Tribute

A friend of mine's aunt died today and I'm honored to say I cried.

Aunt Trudy was an amazing woman. I'm glad to have known her. Many years in the diplomatic services and a strong spirit gave Aunt Trudy envy-inducing stories. She told stories of places and times read about but not seen by most of my generation (or the previous one).

I had the pleasure of meeting Aunt Trudy for the first time before my friend's wedding. I was chastised for showing up at the motel without any wine. I was just supposed to pick Aunt Trudy and Aunt Rose up. I thought I was picking up elderly aunts.

Well, they may have been elderly (only very, very slightly and I imagine Aunt Trudy was only very slightly elderly until she died), but they had spirit. A lot of spirit. I was young (26 or 27) but not as young as Aunt Trudy.

I was not long back from Prague and missing it terribly when I met her. Aunt Trudy had been in Prague during the famous Prague Spring of 1968. She would describe places, buildings and even scaffolding that she remembered. I had been there in 1991 and nothing had changed. I loved her instantly for the way she described a place that I cherish.

She had an appreciation for the world and its offerings that comes from being well-travelled.

I remember being in her hotel room after the wedding. We were celebrating and celebrating. Taking our time and truly honoring the wedding of Kristie and Tim. Aunt Trudy regaled us with stories of contraband liquor in Kuwaiti hotels, inappropriate escapades for women of her generation, and adventures in exotic locales. 

Aunt Trudy was the kind of woman to inspire you to be more than you are currently being. She had spirit, intelligence and a strong will. She lived life to the fullest. Something I think some of us forget to do.

I am told that one of her nieces brought champagne to the care home in England where Aunt Trudy died. She and the staff toasted the woman.

An appropriate tribute -- one I plan on participating in. There's a good bottle of champagne on the shelf and I think it's been waiting for tonight. Here's to you Aunt Trudy...

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