I had two nice long visits with my Aunt Vi during the week I spent in Saskatoon. Viola is my mother’s older sister. Aunt Vi had a rewarding career as an elementary school teacher and since her retirement she has traveled the world and done all kinds of volunteer work for her church and community. She lived with my grandmother for many years caring for her after my grandfather’s death. I don’t think Vi is a person who ever says “What’s next?” She always has so many projects and plans on the go and she moves calmly from one to the other. Vi does needlework and gives almost all of it away. As her nieces and nephews have begun to mark their twenty-fifth wedding anniversaries each has received a beautiful picture she’s made. Each picture requires thousands of stitches and endless hours of Vi’s time.
Here’s Vi with my son and his wife. She made them a needlepoint picture of the Prayer of St. Francis as a wedding gift. My husband Dave and I stayed with Aunt Vi five years ago when we were in Saskatoon getting ready for their wedding and Vi helped me make hundreds of dainties and desserts to serve to the wedding guests after the ceremony.
Aunt Vi is busy now writing her life story. She likes to do jig saw puzzles and she is a member of a book club. For many years she has organized music and recordings to sell at an annual fund raiser for the symphony orchestra in Saskatoon and her door is always open to guests. She loves to cook and bake and keeps records on cards what she served you the last time you were her guest so she won’t repeat the same menu.
Vi is easy to talk to and she is an excellent listener. It’s no wonder so many people phone her or stop in for a chat at her apartment in the Saskatoon senior’s complex where she lives. She keeps a guest book and has all her guests record their names. I don’t know how many of those books she’s already filled, but I’m sure by now its dozens.
Despite the fact she always has many projects on the go, she seems so relaxed and always makes time for activities and programs at her church, and in the seniors’ community where she lives. Walking the halls of that community with her, as I did last week, it is clear everyone knows her. She has a friendly comment for each person she meets and she makes a habit of giving cards to people who need affirmation or encouragement.
Aunt Vi has no children of her own but she has been a caring and conscientious aunt and great aunt- remembering us all at Christmas with gifts, praying for us and never missing family celebrations and events.
As I ask “What’s next?” and think about how I want to spend my retirement years- Aunt Vi is definitely someone I can look to as a role model.