This holiday weekend seems to have been a weekend of death. Saturday we learned that Steve Richards had passed. Sunday it was Kuin Tattersall in Australia. Monday my aunt, Velma Holland, died of brain cancer.
Aunt Velma was a remarkable woman. Had she made it to August 8th she would have been 86 years old yet until quite recently she still lived alone, made her own garden, and drove herself wherever she wanted to go. It wasn't very long ago that she was still working as a seamstress in a factory and she drove herself there, too - not across the small town in Tennessee where she lived, but across the valley and up another mountain. Aunt Velma canned, made her own clothes, and (like most of my aunts in Tennessee) outshone any TV chef when it came to cooking. I have recipes in my kitchen now that I learned from her. Some probably would have called her a country hick, but I think that just means she was unpretentious, practical and plain spoken. She was also very, very sweet. When I think of the pioneer women who faced such hardships to settle this nation I think they must have been something like Aunt Velma.