This will be my first Christmas without Aunt Edie. It’s hard to imagine the holiday without her. Even when we lived several states apart and we didn’t get to spend the day with her, she made it more special with the arrival of brown paper packages wrapped up with string. Sometimes the packages would have been wrapped by the children’s store in her little town of Temple, but for others she would have made the trip into Dallas and bought our presents at Neiman Marcus.
These beautiful hand-beaded ornaments that I inherited from Aunt Edie are a whole lot like her. For one thing, they are beautiful to look at. So was Aunt Edie. She took good care of her hair and skin. Her nails were always manicured and sported the latest trend in color. She loved good clothes and looked good in them. One of her hallmarks was gorgeous shoes. She’d gladly pay exorbitant prices for extraordinary shoes, but she never looked over done or gaudy. She had an innate sense of style that I’ve tried very hard to copy.
Unlike these Christmas ornaments, however, her beauty was not only skin deep. She was a successful business woman with a keen mind. Her devotion to service organizations, charities and her church were legendary. Everyone wanted to be Edith’s friend, because she was not only a lot of fun, but she’d be there when you needed her. Being her niece is one of the greatest blessings I’ve ever had in my life.
Though she was successful in business and popular in the community, her life was not an easy one. She had two husbands – both of which caused her pain – but she didn’t complain about it. She was a faithful wife to both and each husband developed health problems which demanded more out of her than the average husband. Though she wanted children of her own, she never had them. The grace with which she carried these burdens is an example to me daily – one I too often fall short of.
Aunt Edie was like these ornaments in yet another way. The ornaments are a testimony to Christ’s birth. Aunt Edie was a testimony to Christ’s life, death and resurrection. She put all her faith in Him. She prayed to Him for wisdom at every crossroad in her life. I felt the prayers she prayed for me. Often her decisions didn’t reflect the wisdom of the world. In fact, everyone from relatives to attorneys to friends would warn her that she wasn’t using her street smarts – but that didn’t phase Aunt Edie. If her answer to prayer was an unorthodox action, then she’d perform the unorthodox action. It was as simple as that.
Upon reflection, I have to admit that even though Aunt Edie will not be sitting at my table on Christmas Day, there’s not a moment she’s not with me. Because our sizes and tastes were similar, she’s in my closet and my jewelry box. Unfortunately, my feet were the wrong size to wear her shoes. In my kitchen cabinet are twelve place settings of Blue Danube china and Gorham Chantilly silver. Her business acumen and wise choices have enriched me financially. Her life and testimony have permanently impacted the way I live my own life.
I’ll miss Aunt Edie when we sit down for Christmas dinner, but I thank God every day for what she’s meant in my life. Who is your Aunt Edie?