Yeah, I’m one of the few people that can say that. What? You don’t know anyone named Vena? Well, that’s because her real name is Ivena. What? You don’t know that name either? Well, you won’t find it on a personalized key chain rack or personalized pencils (unless you special order them, of course). Nope. Ivena is an original name. Just like she is an original person.
You will not find a more giving, caring woman that Aunt Vena. She is always doing something for someone else. Always. Whether it’s inviting new people from the congregation over for dinner, taking food to someone, or going to Kansas to check on a relative. She is very giving of her time.
As an example, one time, a friend of mine from church was in an accident on the way to Springfield, MO from St. Louis. The Jeep she was in overturned in the median and they were all taken to the hospital. No one was available to recover any of the items in the Jeep. My aunt and uncle live near Springfield, but not exactly close to the accident site, nor did they even know these people. They just heard about it from my mom and they took off and recovered as much as they could. Now, my mom told them the story, not because she wanted them to go get the stuff, but because it had happened nearby and the friend needed prayers, etc. But, immediately my aunt said, “Well, we’ll go get their things!” She didn’t even hesitate.
Her door is always open for us. She provides a great bed and breakfast for us each Christmas. And, always tells us to come anytime. (And, unlike most of us, she really means it!) When Tom’s aunt died suddenly right after Christmas, she insisted that we stay with her before we went down to the funeral, since all of Tom’s family’s homes would be crowded with other relatives. I stayed with her before my sister-in-law got married and she helped me make a double batch of Watergate salad and even provided me with a beautiful bowl to put it in! (I love Watergate salad, btw. In case anyone wants to know.)
She is also an amazing needleworker. Is that the right word? I don’t know, but let’s just go with it. She does the most BEAUTIFUL counted cross-stitch pieces. You wouldn’t believe it. Seriousy. She made us a beautiful quilted bedspread that I am looking at right now and still can’t believe she did all that work for us. It’s just gorgeous! And she made one for each of her nieces and nephews as their wedding present. Fortunately none of the families have tons of kids! She makes these amazing Christmas stockings for her family that are to die for! (She did say she was glad that she only had to make one more for her grandson’s future wife. They are very time-consuming and they look it!) She makes little Christmas stockings for my dad for each of his grandchildren every year. And each one is personalized with some item that signifies what the child is interested in. One year, she even made one with a computer on it for my son! You know there aren’t many patterns out there for that! 🙂
She does other crafts too, in fact she goes to War Eagle in Arkansas and learns new crafts once a year. I’m sure I’d forget some of them, so I won’t even bother trying to name them.
She also has the patience to teach anyone that wants to learn how to do the crafts that she does. She taught me counted cross-stitch and even gave me the supplies I needed to get started.
She’s an excellent cook. She’ll try new things all the time, and whatever it is, I love it. There’s not many people I’d try whatever they made, but I would for her. She and my uncle make this pineapple candy every Christmas. It is AMAZING! She always puts aside a portion for Tom, my mom, and me to take home. Apparently, making this is quite an ordeal. Their daughter doesn’t like it, so she doesn’t want to learn how to make it. I have told them that I would like to be the one to carry on that tradition, so hopefully this winter I will be able to go down and learn. But, the fact that she makes it every single year, makes me feel so good. I know she’s not doing it just for me, but I also know that she’s aware of how much I love it!
And, how much I love her. One time my mom told me that I was just like Aunt Vena. Apparently, I am quick to forgive someone. Aunt Vena is the same way. Mom would always have a story about how there would be a disagreement between my aunt and my grandparents, and in an hour or so, here would come Aunt Vena with a cake or some delicious baked good and the disagreement would just be a memory. My mom actually said that she wished she was more like Aunt Vena and me.
So, Aunt Vena, happy birthday! May you have many, many more! I love you! (Oh, and by the way, spell check doesn’t like “Vena” or “Ivena”.)