“Aunt Jo? It’s Martha Ann.”
“Well Martha Ann. How the heck are you? Uncle Hank and I were just talking about you.”
“Did you reach any conclusions?”
“Not yet. So what’s new?”
“I’m coming up for Christmas.”
“Halleluja! Your Aunt Martha will be so happy!”
“Me too. I’ll mail you the flight info.”
“We’ll be there to get you.”
And there they were. My beautiful uncle — the first crush of my life — my sweet Aunt Jo and my precious Aunt Martha, then in the early-middle stages of dementia, in her green coat, waiting. It was Christmas, 2001. That year pretty much everyone in Billings had a paper flag (cut from the Billings Gazette) taped in their front window.
After I got my bags, we took Aunt Martha back to her apartment. I went in with her, and found about a hundred yellow post-it notes stuck all over her living room on which she had written “Martha Ann arrives today.” That pretty much made my whole life.