Sunday, November 19, 2017

Aunt Titus

When I was a little girl I used to love to visit my aunt Titus.  Her real name was Matilda and folks called her Tillie.  But after I was born that all changed.  I was just learning to talk and for some reason I pronounced it 'Titus'.  The name stuck for everyone in the family after that.  My two younger sisters and I would go visit for a week or so.  It was a wondrous time to explore and sample new things.  Aunt Titus lived in the country.  It took us a long time to get there.  We'd all pile out of the car and run up the steps to her front porch.  Aunt Titus would be sitting on her porch with her knitting.  Her knitting would be put aside and arms would go out to capture all of us in a big hug.

Aunt Titus always smelled of sugar cookies and laundry detergent.  It's no small wonder though, as she was always baking and usually her ringer washer was going every Monday and Friday in the kitchen.  Aunt Titus took the better part of the  day to do her washing.  She would push the round washer up to the sink and attach the hose.  First it would fill up and then she'd add the detergent.  Next she'd put in the clothes.  When they got all done washing she'd put them through the ringer and fill up the tub again.  This time the clothes went back in for the rinse cycle. They got put through the ringer and then hung out to dry.  In case of rainy days, Aunt Titus had a clothes line in the cellar.

In between the cycles, Aunt Titus would be baking anything from a pie, or batch of cookies.  We couldn't wait to see what was in her cookie jar.  Sometimes she'd make peanut butter cookies with a dot of jam in the middle.  Those were my favorite.

Aunt Titus had an enormous kitchen.  On one end there was a pantry.  It was like a closet with shelves where she would store her canned goods.  She always had tomatoes, peaches or pears.  No one went hungry at her house.  I can see her kitchen like it was yesterday.  Her old wooden table had a drawer in it.  Four chairs with matching cushions that Aunt Titus had made.  The colors of her kitchen were red and white.  She always had red checkered kitchen curtains with matching table cloth and chair cushions.  A round multicolored braided rug lay beneath it all. Her stove was always covered with pots and pans filled with whatever she was cooking.  The smell of food met you as you walked into the house.  Aunt Titus had a potato bin in one corner of the room.  She had a Hoosier for cupboards and counter top.  It had doors on the top and drawers on the bottom. There was a large wooden hutch that took up half a wall.  It had her dishes all lined up with cups hanging from small pegs.  Everything had its place and she made sure it was placed there. On each shelf was a pretty doily.   It would be white with red trim.  Aunt Titus could cook, sew, knit, crochet and an assortment of other things.

She called herself a simple housewife but I always thought she was the smartest lady ever.  Her most favorite thing was that every Wednesday morning she hosted a group of ladies for brunch.  The kitchen would be scrubbed top to bottom and fresh muffins would be set on the table.  Aunt Titus would put some cups and saucers on the table.  I watched as the women filed into the kitchen.  They each carried a bible.  Aunt Titus bible was always in her bedroom unless it was Wednesday morning.  She read from it each day before going to bed.

Aunt Titus spent Wednesday talking to the women about what the Lord had showed her over the years.  I would be in the next room coloring or playing but I could hear her.  Her stories were always interesting.  She had a way to make people laugh and learn at the same time.  The kitchen would be filled with laughter one moment and quietly listening to Aunt Titus the next.  When it was all over, Aunt Titus would pray and hug everyone on the way out.

She told me once that when I called her 'Titus' rather than 'Tillie' God told her she had a job to do.  She was to teach the younger women in the church about what it means to be a Titus woman.  She scooped me up on her lap and looked me in the eye one day.  'Now then, I know you don't understand everything because you are young.  However, the time is coming and it isn't all that long when you will take my place sweetheart.  Keep your eyes on the prize which is Jesus.  I'm praying for you.'

Aunt Titus was a remarkable woman.  But, you will find out more as this story continues..

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