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Aunt Phyllis

My Aunt Phyllis turned 80 in April and I was so excited to be a part of her special birthday celebration. It was a weekend full of fun, slideshows, dinners, breakfast and back for more dinners.

Saturday night was particularly special as everyone gave tribute to how my Aunt had touched their lives. Some were funny, some were thoughtful, but mostly they were all filled with overwhelming love and appreciation for such a magnificent person. I’m not much for speeches so I didn’t give my tribute in person so I thought I would write it here instead.

I’ve always greatly admired my Aunt. She has the gift of storytelling and as a child I couldn’t wait to hear about all of her adventures over and over again. There was the poor tuba man in the marching band that tripped and got stuck to the pavement on a hot summer day. The goose that bit her leg, with scars left to prove it!  The bicycle that ran her over when she was little, and a cherry tree ladder that feel right on top of her. It’s a wonder she made it through childhood.

But my favorite stories were the ones of far off places. She’d tell us about Japan and explain how bowing the lowest was a great sign of respect.  Once, as a guest in someone’s house, they kept bowing lower and lower to each other until they were practically on the floor. They had a good laugh, but I’m not sure they ever resolved who respected whom more. We’d listen to Tikki Tikki Tembo on repeat on her record player. One year she even created an authentic Japanese dinner for us and dressed us up in kimonos! I’ve always thought that she was so brave and she has also always been an inspiration to me.

Many years ago a colleague asked me who was the most interesting and influential person I knew. Without any hesitation I told him about my Aunt Phyllis. I’m sure I told him about all her travels, but the thing I distinctly remember trying to convey the most was about her spirit. My Aunt is just so full of love and joy, it radiates from her with such power you can’t help but feel her warmth and love surround you. She has this way of making you feel special and important as she asks about your life and truly listens to you. She is fun, loves to laugh, and always puts others before herself. She’s has an unwavering faith in God and is always optimistic. That’s what inspires me most about her. She’s just always present with you, right there in that moments, finding the joy and laughter in life. She has always been an influential part of my life as has always been a constant source of inspiration as I look to find the best in life.

 

 

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