“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little - if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.” - Coco Chanel


Shirley Bourn Dunaway

"Aunt Edie Noodles"

There are those that deeply affect your life without much fanfare. This doesn’t discount those that are obvious or in the limelight, just realization of the importance of the quieter ones comes with wisdom.

While recounting things that come to mind when I think of my Dad’s only living sister, first thing that pops up is that she made my wedding dress. I remember being completely lost when it came time to get married. My Mother had been gone for some 4 years and along with my engagement came yet another form and stage of grief. Cognizance of that fact simply alluded me. Yet she was a constant. She purchased the fabric, notions, and trimmings, then spent countless hours creating it.

I fondly remember the harmony of she and her sister singing “The River Of Jordan”.

She admonished me to eat the crust on the bread. I was mortified each and every time she’d announce “It’ll make your “dinners” grow!”. I’ll let you figure that one out.=) She brought her shower gifts to each function in the bag they were purchased in, just added a bow to the bag. Then proudly proclaimed we’d know which gift was from her.

Repeatedly I’d call needing work, and her reply was always, “What time can you be here tomorrow?” Off to the coast I’d head after dropping off whichever ones were school age. A finer seamstress/drapery workroom you’ll never find. My first pan of dressing was made while on the phone with her. I use her recipe for muffins and salmon cakes.

For years, each and every time I left her house she’d “plant” a can of “coffee” in my vehicle. She’d be sure to whisper and tell me where she hid it before I left. Many a loaf of bread, school pictures, $5.00 worth of gas (1/2 tank years ago), school lunch money, and gallons of milk were purchased with change from the coffee can. She’d always ask if I was out of “coffee”.

Every Christmas Eve has been spent in her home for as long as I can remember. She makes a gargantuan pot of Chicken Noodle Soup with her infamous shell noodles. To this very day my kids refer to them as "Aunt Edie Noodles". That pot alone would literally feed Cox’s Army. We absolutely crack up each and every year at the candle on her bar. It’s shaped into 4 vertical numbers-2000. Every year she corrects the last 0 with a black marker to the appropriate year/date. It’s the tackiest, yet funniest thing ever. She has a pair of Christmas mice that are collectibles. They’re about 8” tall, in full Christmas dress and my eye searches the room for them yearly. She tells the story of getting them as a gift from a downtown bank long ago. We sing, laugh, reacquaint, and celebrate the holiday as it should be done, family style.

My grandparents spent the last couple of years of their lives in her home. Her sacrifice was great. This on the heels of losing her sister, and not so long after burying 2 of her brothers.

I can never write enough words to express my genuine love and admiration for this incredibly special lady.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Edie. My life would be less without you.

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