I recently spoke to my two cousins, whose father was my mother's brother. He had passed away a couple of years ago. Their mother, my aunt, is very ill, unable to communicate, in such bad shape which questions God's mercy. My two cousins have health issues of their own, which makes for a really rough time all around for the three of them.
The only consolation I could think to offer them was to think back, once in a while for a break, to younger, happier times, where there were a few funny stories hidden in memory. Stories like these often get recounted at wakes and funerals anyway; they can do some good now to ease the pain of impending loss.
I got off the phone, and immediately thought of my uncle ,aunt, and cousins at our house on the Jersey shore in the 50's. The house was on Barnegat Bay, due west of Island Beach State Park. My father had a small inboard motor boat which was large enough for most of us who wanted to go over to the beach on the bay side of the Park (a best kept secret). It wasn't the Atlantic Ocean, but neither did we have to fight the traffic and mobs to get to it. Instead, we'd commune with a few other locals who knew the "secret", and had a great time in very clean, clear water near the inlet.
At the end of the day, we'd start back in the boat, anxious to wash the salt water off in the outdoor shower my father rigged on the side of the house. Only one problem; the hot water heater in the house was very small, and thus emptied quickly. My aunt was a large woman, with a very pretty face, and ready joking smile, but her showering used a lot of hot water, so to speak. My other male cousin (from another aunt) would say to me, as we approached the dock,
"That backside of hers is like the moon over Miami (he was from Florida). Let's hit the shower first, before her!"
We were two skinny kids back then, and didn't need much water to rinse the salt off, but we purposely stayed under the shower until the water turned cold, then said to our aunt,
"It's all yours."
She would shriek at the ice water tumbling onto her head.
If you have failing relatives, I urge you to go back in time, and add a dose of medicine like this.
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