Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Visit From Aunt Anna

I am blessed to come from a wonderful Italian family (my sister, Linda, is this generation's Italian cook). My mother had six sisters and 3 brothers and my father had 2 sisters, he being the eldest. Both parents were first-generation Italians born in this country. What a heritage I have . . . the memories of family gatherings go on and on. Unfortunately, all are gone except my Aunt Anna (see her picture), my mother's youngest sister and the baby of the family. Can you believe that she is 80-something? Sorry, Aunt Anna, I had to brag on you!

Aunt Anna and Uncle Kenny had no children of their own (she is now widowed), so her nieces and nephews became her children. She is more like a big sister to me and we are as silly when together as some siblings are. Affectionately, we sometimes address each other as Bubba I and Bubba II. Where that started, I don't know, but it makes for a good laugh.

How surprised I was when she called in January and said she and my cousin, Janice, would be visiting in February (they live in the north east). She has "her room" here in our home, and we love to prepare for her. In addition to visiting Mr. Jim and me, she also visited my sisters and a cousin in South Florida which made for a very short visit with us. Nonetheless, any time with her is a joy. I will have the pleasure of staying at her home for a whole week in May. There will be many late nights of talking and talking and talking . . . We never seem to be at a loss for words when together.

Webster's dictionary defines heritage as tradition, handed down from one's ancestors or the past and property that is or can be inherited. To me it means much more than that. Our family heritage represents grandparents who came to this country and couldn't speak English, there always being room for one more at my Grandmother's table, my mother working in a sweat shop, Easter dinner at Aunt Jenny's and Uncle Mike's with tables lined up one after another to accommodate the family, the aroma of fresh wine in wooden barrels in the basement at my paternal grandparent's home, my father buying my mother, my sisters and me corsages to wear on Easter Sunday . . . I could go on for pages.

I love from whom I came and cherish every memory. And although it means the world to me, I have a greater heritage. Psalm 16:5-6 tells me that the Lord is the portion of my inheritance; 1 Peter 2:9 tells me that I am of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession. Imagine, that the creator of the universe has made me, a sinner saved by grace, a part of his family, that He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will . . . (Eph. 1:5). In reading just those few verses, my spirit rises up in me and says yes, Lord, yes, how I love being a part of your family!

I am a blessed woman. I have a wonderful earthly heritage and an eternal heritage, and it can't get any better than that.

In Him,
Jim's Patty