Aunt D and Uncle H

Or My Mom’s Younger Sister and Her Husband, My Other Favorite Uncle…

(I decided to stick to initials this time because my uncle’s name is very unusual and, therefore, can possibly identify him. Though I have nothing negative to say about him, I want to respect his privacy.)

My Aunt D is about a little over a year younger than my mother. Irish twins, they call it. Most of the kids were born in quick succession. How else can you have so many so quickly? For all that, my mom and D are world’s apart in everything else. My mom doesn’t much look like her siblings. I used to tease that she was the milk man’s baby. Funny, because they lived on a dairy farm. D’s personality was unlike her brothers and sisters. She wasn’t as prone to joking and silliness once you got to really know her, not like the others were. She was more literal and serious. She hated life on the farm and didn’t fit in well there. You’d think she hadn’t grown up with the rest of them. She was more of a dreamer and an artist. She loved to paint and write children’s stories.

Uncle H has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. He might as well be blood, it’s how I think of him. He’s very similar to D in that they are both very prone to neatness. Everything must be precisely so. And he’s more introverted than most, but he does have quite a dry sense of humor. He is also a very gifted shopper. He buys amazing gifts. My aunt is possibly the worst shopper ever. He can’t leave her alone for a moment or she’ll make some horrendous mistake, like she did for my 17th birthday.

Normally the family came over for dinner and cake in the evening on my birthday, but my uncle stopped by during the day for some reason. And he didn’t call ahead either, which was very odd for him. He’s very proper, almost formal, at times. He apologized for showing up unexpectedly when we invited him in and he shoved a gift at me. He looked extremely uncomfortable. I thanked him and asked if something was wrong and he said, “I’m so sorry. She bought before I could stop her. I’ll make it up to you.”

Now I was really confused. I asked him what he was talking about and he gestured towards the present in my hands, apologizing again. I said that I was sure it was fine. I’d open it later when everyone came over. He insisted I open it at that moment. At this point, even my mom was looking shocked. This was completely unlike my uncle. What the hell had my aunt done? I nervously unwrapped the gift and fought really hard not to laugh. It was a t-shirt with denim appliqué, fringe, and glitter at a time when I was into grunge. “It’s not that bad,” was the best I could manage, but my uncle only sadly shook his head and promised a better gift soon.

I told him not to get me anything, but he did get me a lovely sweater in my favorite color. I really did love it. My aunt would ask why I didn’t wear the shirt she got me and I’d lie and say that I just had and it was in the laundry. Too bad she missed it! She never had a clue…

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