Driving down to the big road on my way to get feed yesterday, Camille was coming home and we stopped to talk. (We do that up here.) Honey crawled over the back seat to get into Camille's lap so she, too, could say hi. Honey is a big dog and Camille drives a small truck; it was a tight squeeze. Camille said, "Okay, you can say hello to your Auntie."
Later, while watering deck plants in the cool of the early evening, my mind went off on one of its excursions and ended up on "Auntie." My mother was very particular about what she would be called. When I was a little kid, two small cousins were staying with us and the little boy asked Aunt Esther if he could do something or other. "Honey, don't call me Aunt Esther," wanting him to only use her first name. He thought for a minute. "Uncle Esther?" That was back in the day when children were taught to call all adults Mr. So-and-so or Mrs. So-and-so as a sign of respect. My own children called one neighbor simply Mister. Neither my sister nor I ever called our parent anything other than Mother, never Mama or Mom; that was unthinkable. Her grandchildren were taught to use Grandmother and nothing else, no diminutives like Grannie or Nana, and certainly not Grandma or the even more dreaded Grandmaw! The little ones had difficulty and it usually came out as "Granmuzzer."
That train of thought pulled into the station, and so I am now Honey's Auntie. It could be worse. She might call me Uncle.