I've known Aunt Sylvie, Uncle Slappy's wife of 57 years, for my entire life. She is a wonderful woman. Warm, an amazing cook--who at the age of 86 still gets around the kitchen, energetic and, most important, and eminently tolerant woman, as you'd expect from someone who has lived with Slappy for so long.
Aunt Sylvie, I'm told, was quite a "looker" in her youth. She can still turn a head or two at the community center pool in the gated community she and Slappy live in down in Boca. She dresses, and always has, to the nines, as they say, and in all the years I've spent near Aunt Sylvie I don't think I've ever seen her without makeup, unaccessorized and not well put together.
She would as soon go out of the house in a pair of sweatpants and bedroom slippers as Uncle Slappy would go deer hunting. It will never happen.
Through the years I've grown closer to Uncle Slappy. He's filled in for my father in many real and substantial ways. While I love Aunt Sylvie like the mother I never had, I am just not as close to her as I am to Slappy. Of course I care about her. We have great talks together and until she had to give it up a couple years ago, we'd often hit the ball together on the courts not far from her unit in Boca.
A couple months ago, my cousin Tillie called--the one married to the gastroenterologist in Ft. Lauderdale. Aunt Sylvie, who's barely ever left the house not wearing at least 3-inch heels had taken a tumble. The orthopaedist said this is no joke. At her age a fall could lead to a broken hip which could lead to a coffin.
Cousin Tillie arranged it. I would fly down. Tillie would pick me up. We'd drive to Sylvie and Slappy and conduct a high-heel intervention, replacing all of Sylvie's shoes once and for all.
We did it--with Sylvie kicking and screaming. But now she's wearing flats. And like anyone in "recovery," ever-so-slowly adjusting.