Today my Aunt Abbe passed away. I remember her for many things, many laughs, a few good cries (although she would never admit it.) and a mental image of horse poop smashed into a young boy's face. We will get to the poop.
Abbe was married to my Uncle Mike, my mother's youngest sibling. She and Mike dated in high school, that's when I met her. Soon Abbe and Mike became "Abbe and Mike". She popped corn for Grandma at the theater and attended the important family functions like painting the picket fence over spring break. She fit in splendidly. She accepted being teased by Pop, tickled my brother and I when needed, and explained to me what "Hunting for Swordfish and Tuna" really meant. Shortly after Mike graduated high school he moved to Salida, slept on our couch and helped Pop out at the Salvage Yard. Abbe would visit on weekends and make fun of his bell bottom work pants. She would patiently hang out with me and even take rides on my push pull merry go round while waiting for Mike to walk through the front gate in his not-so fashionable duds. A few years later after she had graduated she and Mike lived down the street from us. My freshman year of high school, Charlie C. and I attended the Homecoming dance together. Abbe reminded me for several days prior to the dance to be sure and bring my date to their house so that she and Mike could meet him. I made Charlie walk the half block to their house. While there, Abbe offered him a wine cooler and complimented him in his stripped pants. It was awkward, but I have always remembered it. Aunt Abbe, as many aunts and uncles did, would ask me about my swimming from time to time. I always gave Abbe a full report as she knew exactly what a I.M. was. I never needed to explain the finer points of my sport to her. She had a Golden Retriever named Bailey that had a black mark on his tongue. It looked like someone had taken a Sharpie marker and put it there. One evening when my younger brother and I were visiting for "Game Night" I noticed the black mark. Abbe convinced me that when Bailey was young her neighbor had a dog that look very much like her dog and that sometimes she mixed them up. In order to fix the mix-up problem she marked Bailey's tongue with a permanent marker. I believed her for a long time. Right up until she overheard me telling the story to someone else. When Abbe and her family moved to Alaska, I remember her worrying about Bailey making the flight safely. She had quite the connection with animals. When I got the news of her passing today, I had a flash of a picture of her and her 4H sheep that Uncle Mike had on his dresser. ( I was a nosy kid.) So these are few things I remember of Abbe. Along with being an incredible mother, aunt and friend I also remember the "Poop face story." I don't remember all the players, have no idea who the unfortunate kid was. I only know he wore glasses. Abbe told me this story once, and I have yet to forget the look on her face as she told it. One afternoon Abbe and her sister were riding horses in town. I can only assume the town was Saguache. She explained that they had been riding near the edge of the street when they encountered an oncoming vehicle so her sister crossed the street to ride on the opposing side until the car passed. For whatever reason, her sister stayed on the opposite side of the street for awhile. As the pair continued riding, two young boys were racing up behind them on bicycles. The boy in lead repeatedly turned to look behind him. Apparently the boy spent too much time looking behind him and did not pay attention to the large equine rump in front and slammed into Abbe's sister's horse. Just in time as the horse had lifted it's tail and was leaving a pile for the city street cleaners. Abbe would explain that the horse didn't seem to flinch. The poor boy had poo in his mouth, up his nose and between his glasses and his eyes. He was sputtering and spitting as one might expect. Abbe cracked up laughing. Abbe could tell stories about poop. She would get the same look when she would retell the story of Jared projectile pooping on Mike and how she never did get the stain out of his shirt.
Just a few memories. RIP Aunt Abbe.