Aunt Pat, by Uncle Ray
She had a pink room at the shore and a pink room in the city and all I wanted from the time I was a little girl was to be with her, in her worlds. She had dogs, Adam and Rufus and Eve and Eloise and Scarlett. She read Cosmo. She had a VW Bug and a living room that overlooked the Hudson River and swans who lived on the beach at the end of her street. For Thanksgiving she made sweet potato orange cups with toasted marshmallows. For her cobbler only sour cherries would do.
She always knew precisely what she wanted and woe to you if you didn't take heed. When we met at the Italian restaurant up by Columbia she ordered penne vodka with a side of cantaloupe and a glass of Coca-Cola and another of ice water to spoon into her soda and then for dessert a cannoli to go. At Le Pan Quotidien a lemon tart topped with a raspberry. Friendly's, tuna melt or chicken pot pie.
Halloween was her favorite holiday but she always, always sent Christmas cards and she did love the rabbits at Easter.
She held Scarlett on her lap while she drove even as she passed the trucks doing eighty. She loved yard sales and thrift stores and antiques, Dorothy Parker and Alice in Wonderland. Hot tea with milk, lobster rolls heated not browned with potato salad not fries, watching the backyard birds. Writing the discussion questions for her book club which she did for decades with her little cream fountain pen even when she got too tired.
She believed in Saint Anne who looked out for the mothers. She educated all her life and supported the young ones and sent a twenty folded into a card to treat yourself to a spiced chai and during the years when she could, took me to the Westminster dog show and Madame Tussaud's wax museum and the Beatrix Potter exhibit at the Pierpont Morgan Library and the Long Day's Journey revival on Broadway.
She loved birthdays and celebrated the entire month. My cousin Sean says he knows exactly what she'd say and that helps with missing her and I understand what he means but next Sunday will be my first birthday without her and though I saved last year's butterfly card with the fifty tucked inside and her laughter is still in my ear and I can smell her kitchen when I step into our yellow back room in the sunny afternoon--it is not enough. You could tell her anything and we all always did and she understood it all always and she told us the truth which at its heart was that she was proud and the time we are allotted with that is never enough.