On Friday of our vacation we received news that Beth's great aunt Betty passed away after a long illness. Her family was there with her as she passed.
I remembered the first time I met Betty. December 24, 1990. Beth and I were newlyweds (almost 2 months at that point). Beth's family always went to John and Betty McLean's house for Christmas Eve.
We drove to Beth's parents house (we were staying overnight), then Beth's dad drove on to Betty and John's house.
John was head maitre d at the Maisonette (Cincinnati's five star restaurant). I had never been to a five star restaurant, so having John waiting on us was a new experience. He never let my wine glass get less than half full. No matter how hard I tried...
Well, at one point during the party, I told a joke to my table mates (Beth and her sister Paige if memory serves). Have you ever had one of those moments, when you say something embarrassing and the rest of the room goes silent?
That's exactly what happened.
In that moment of silence, a thousand things rush through my head: "Why is everyone looking at me? Am I going to have to walk home? Can I walk home? Can I walk?"
All of the sudden, Betty just busts out laughing. Then everyone laughs.
Next thing you know - I'm over talking to Aunt Betty, and she says "Tell your Aunt Betty another joke..."
That was our tradition over the years. I would look up jokes and bring them with me. Political jokes were always a hit. (Some years more than others..). Come to think of it, with Aunt Betty any kind of joke was a hit. She had an awesome sense of humor.
December 24, 1990 was when Betty McLean became my Aunt Betty.