That’s Aunt Kay’s line for birthdays—”Wishing You Cupcakes for Life!” She’ll send this message in a card addressed with the most beautiful handwritten script, in an envelope with a hand-sketched cake, candles, streamers, balloons, or whatever’s striking her artistic fancy that day. This year she did the same, except she wrote and drew from the bed to which she’s been nearly confined for the past several months.
When I think of Aunt Kay, I don’t think of illness. I think of watercolors and Cape Cod. I think of the backyard pool and the season long cascade of blooms. I think of an hour she spent at my counter one June day hulling the fresh, sweet strawberries that she’d picked up on her ride here from Baltimore. I think of the way she talks to the animals, in that silky alto voice of hers, and how they look at her in rapt attention. I think of her miniature schnauzers, Baby Bear and, before her, Smokey Bear, for whom Kay boiled chicken and rice like she was serving a beloved shut-in. I think of the old VW van with the “air-cooled” engine (that always overheated) and the old blue Malibu with the white convertible top (and the red interior) that she actually let ME drive once—and, believe me, that’s really not nothing.
Aunt Kay’s had an uphill battle with her health this year—that kind of uphill battle that makes you want to stop the world and wave the white flag because you can’t imagine how you can carry on from day to day. She’s sounding better all the time, although she probably doesn’t sound that way to herself. My hope is that she’ll keep on keeping on, because, maybe I’m selfish, but I’m just not ready to let the good times go.
If only cupcakes were the cure, we’d all be a lot healthier.
Thanks to birthday girl Monica M. for this much needed writing prompt!