Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Aunt Lucille

Aunt Lucille, photographed July 2007, Upper Marlboro, Maryland by Shannon Finney

My Aunt Lucille was always larger than life. She was tall with large hands and bright,
big eyes that barely hid the mischief behind them. She was my maternal grandmother
Sarah's,sister, and watching the two of them together was curious to me, as
I imagined them as young girls, two sassy women fussing with each other
and laughing with each other.  On the day that I took this portrait of Aunt
Lucille, she spied me approaching with my camera just as she was bumming
a cigarette from one of her nephews. Smoking had been Aunt Lucille's constant
vice and her children tried their best to get her to kick the habit. She smiled
at me as she sat tall and strong, her right hand gripping her walker,
her left hand clutching her cigarette, with a look on her face, a look
that I had seen her give my grandmother all of those years ago. A look of
defiance and mischief. My grandmother has long since passed away, and
Aunt Lucille died a few years ago, but what makes me smile is imagining the
first words that passed between these two as Aunt Lucille crossed the
threshold of those pearly gates,  welcomed home, a cigarette in her hands
and that rye smile on her lips.

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