I was blessed to grow up in close proximity to my three aunts on my mom's side. Actually, my mom has four sisters, but the oldest, Joyce, passed away at age 16, long before I was born. I look forward to meeting her someday. I have heard many wonderful things about her over the years. My three aunts and I had a special relationship. They were often over at our house while I was growing up. We usually had a large family Christmas gathering at our home with my mom's family. They would often come over just to chit-chat or play Yahtzee or have lunch together. Often my mom would take my siblings and me to visit them as well. And of course we would all get together at my grandpa's cabin in the mountains at least a couple of times a year. I have fond memories of these three great women all through my growing up years.
They really looked after me, too. As I said, they were often over at our home. Any time they heard I was going to scout camp or a school band trip or EFY (Especially For Youth summer camp at BYU), they would play meet it or beat it. One of them would pull out a $10 bill, hold it up in the air and say, "Meet it or beat it!" and then hand it to me. I'd get a big goofy grin on my face and just wait for the cash to pour in. My other two aunts and their mom, Grandma Lind, would join in, each either meeting or beating the $10 given to me by the first. It was a bit like a poker game, with each one calling or raising. "$15!"..."$20!"...and so forth. I could easily head off to my activity with fifty to sixty dollars in my pocket.
My aunt Barbara had four children, and she would often bring the younger two over to our house on Friday nights while she and her husband went on a date. If I knew they were coming, I would time my evening plans around them being there. As they dropped off the kids I'd ask if they could give me a ride to my best friend's house a mile or two away. They would always say yes, and as I got out of the car, Barbara would hand me a $5 bill and say, "This is for having to ride with us!"
For a long time, aunt Debbie lived about a half mile from our house. We would often go over there and play with her kids and her dog. As a very young boy, I remember visiting her old A-frame house at the beach and going fishing with a cousin off of a bridge close by. We caught a small flounder that we threw back. Debbie LOVED the beach and, even since I have had my own family, she and sometimes her kids would come down for a day or two during the week we would have our Green family reunion in a house on the coast.
Aunt Becky had the most awesome house. It was a large home that was pretty large, at least as I remember it. I believe it had three stories plus a really cool attic. Sometimes we would have our Christmas gatherings there. There was a ping-pong table where I got lots of lessons from my older cousins Doug and Todd. I remember staying the night over there a couple of times as a kid.
Often as I interacted with them, they would say, "'Cuz I'm your favorite aunt!" And I would respond, "Yes! You're my favorite aunt!" (And of course, whichever of them was handing me money was decidedly my favorite aunt at that moment;) All three of them, along with Grandma Lind, really were fantastic to me as I was growing up. I'm so grateful to them for the wonderful memories they helped me create.
So it was with great sadness that I learned of Aunt Debbie's passing this week. She was a great woman, and in recent years was enjoying her new grandchildren. I'm so sorry for her kids and grandkids to have lost her at such a relatively young age.
Good-bye for now, Aunt Debbie. Thank you for being so sweet, not only to me, but to my kids. Thanks for spending a week helping your daughter, Chelsea, tend our large family while Christi and I went on vacation. Thank you for coming to Utah with my mom and helping us when we just had one little boy and we were coming apart at the seams trying to figure out how to be new parents. Thank you for the many times you made me laugh. You will be missed.