Jonathan Ames tells the story of his great-aunt Doris. Wonderful profile of a feisty old broad:
I try to call my Great Aunt Doris every day. She’s ninety-years old and lives alone. I love her desperately and as she gets older, especially of late as she becomes more feeble, my love seems to be picking up velocity, overwhelming me almost, tinged as it is with panic — I’m so afraid of losing her.
I usually call her around six o’clock and when she picks up the phone, she always says, “Hellooooo,” drawing out the o’s to sound like a society lady, but when she’s not feeling well the o’s aren’t so drawn out, so I like it when her affectation is present. Daily, we have just about the same conversation.
“Did you need any money?” she says. “Don’t be ashamed to tell me. Aunt Doris is here to help you.” Sometimes she speaks of herself in the third-person, like a professional athlete.
“I don’t need any money,” I say, “but thank you.”
“Have you had your dinner yet?”
“No, I’m going out.”
“Treat yourself to a steak. You’re not a vegetarian any more, are you?”
“No, not a vegetarian.”
“That’s smart. A steak is good for you. Wear a hat when you go out.”
My period of vegetarianism about fourteen years ago still haunts her and she’s been telling me to wear a hat for over thirty years.
“Well, I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” I say. “I love you.”
“I love you more than that,” she says.