Day 119 Aunt Gleasie

April 7, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.) 

First thing this morning, when I opened the back door to breathe fresh air, a chickadee flew to the feeder just outside the door and greeted me with a “chickadee-dee-dee.” It was just twelve inches from me and I was not expecting such an intimate, close-up greeting. Usually when I open the door, birds on the feeder promptly fly away. The cheery greeting triggered pleasant memories of long ago.

When I was a child, my great Aunt Gleasie Leatherbury used to call me her little chickadee. She probably had picked up that phrase from the 1940 movie of the same title with Mae West and W. C. Fields. At that time, I had no idea what a chickadee looked or sounded like, but I did know that I liked my aunt.  She was what at one time would have been called an old maid or  spinster, now politically incorrect. She never married and was a live-in caregiver to a woman in Exmore, Virginia where we would visit in the summer. One time my sister Nancy and I stayed in the farmhouse for a week with our aunt. For children growing up in Baltimore City, this was heaven. We were surrounded by lots of space and fresh air—“out in the country” as we called it. That was the first time I ever climbed a (small) tree. What a sense of freedom! We spent hours running around and creating our own games. Once we spent all day knotting tall weeds together with yarn to make a hula skirt for my sister who delighted in showing off her new hula skills. Aunt Gleasie, who grew up in Deale, Maryland, used to tell us stories of her childhood and later as an adult, I continued to ask her questions and listen to her stories. She was an old fashion country girl with a twinkle in her eye. 

This morning when the bird chirped at me, I could almost hear Aunt Gleasie saying to me, “Come here my little chickadee.”

My gift today is a chickadee-dee-dee.
> Day 120 

You can find links to my other posts on this project here:

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