The Last Hurrah

Elizabeth Mitchell Kuntz, 96 (Aunt Betty) was laid to rest. Though she appeared cold and still, I see and hear her moving from table to table, working the room, hugging, laughing, and promising to catch up while never loosening her grasp on daughter Kathy’s hand.  Husband Joe watched with amusement and pride from his favorite chair as the heavens and saints welcomed her.

She enjoyed her last years as family matriarch having outlived all the others of Mitchell/Kuntz elders.  The celestial festivities will continue for weeks because she had lots of friends. She liked people and social activities, cards, get-togethers, entertaining, church and women’s groups, and bowling, even into her late eighties. Oh my, Aunt Betty loved to gamble, a lot. I once saw her wrestle the last quarter from a eight year old playing Left, Right, Center.  Honest, she took her gambling very seriously.

As a kid, playing at their house we were nearly always encouraged, NO- hustled outside, “Go on now, you kids play outside!”  She wanted us out of her hair while she talked on the phone, immersed in baking or fixing dinner.  Eating there was always a good, second only to my mom’s cooking.  They, Betty and Hank, were a bit competitive about sewing and baking prowess. Betty was generous in hospitality. I can’t remember a time as an adult she didn’t extend “come for a visit.”

One of the most appealing things about Aunt Betty was her willingness to love easily. She let people into her heart.  Perhaps it was the losses of loved ones in early life and harshness in her upbringing. She craved acceptance and I think as a result was willing to extend the same. She welcomed in- laws and step children quickly as one of her brood almost immediately.  Granted it may not have been felt by each of them as attachment but that is how it appeared looking in. So much so, I’ve heard her own children claim Betty cared more for their spouse than she did for them- in only half kidding tones.

Betty loved being on the go and involved. She wore out many a younger friend or family with her zest and enthusiasm, as long as it was almost noon or after.  All those years on a farm did not make her a morning gal. She will be missed, but heaven will be livelier with Betty in attendance tonight and for all time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *