My Aunt Vesta wasn’t anybody “special” in the eyes of the world. She wasn’t even sort of beautiful, she didn’t have any money, and she wasn’t a member of any of the social clubs, but she was my Aunt Vesta, daughter of William Isaac Davis and Mary Swearingin Davis of Comanche County, Texas, and she was my rock.
Aunt Vesta had only two claims to fame. The first was her cooking, and could she ever cook, first owning a café in Fort Worth and then a dining room in Comanche. Later on, Aunt Vesta finished out her working life cooking at Lola’s Café, and wherever she was cooking, people drove for miles to eat with her.
In the photo above, Aunt Vesta came to cook for me for the first week Mandy was born. It was soooooo….much trouble to have someone in our home (someone I thought was already past feeling up to working all day) along with a brand new baby, but I would have died before I would ever have let her know.
Aunt Vesta’s second claim to fame was the way she loved us children. She never married and never had any children of her own, but she loved us, my how she loved us!
Generations of Davis children knew the love of Aunt Vesta, and all came running when she appeared, or if they were visiting her house, all went straight to the kitchen where they knew some yummy surprise would be waiting just as if Aunt Vesta had known all along that they would be stopping by for a visit.
Aunt Vesta was that person in my life who loved me unconditionally, who thought I was perfect. Of course, I spent a lot of time being perfect in front of Aunt Vesta. After all, when someone believes you to be perfect, you can’t let her down, can you?
I used to explain Aunt Vesta’s love for me through the following pretend dialog of what Aunt Vesta would say if I were to rob a bank.
“Aunt Vesta, I just robbed the such and such bank.”
“Don’t you worry about it, darlin’. That bank didn’t need all that money.”
“But, Aunt Vesta, I had to kill the president to do it.”
“That old buzzard’s been needing killing for years!”
That was my Aunt Vesta. The one who believed a pie could cure anything that ailed me, the one who stood by me no matter what the rest of the world might think. I never had to wonder where Aunt Vesta stood on anything…she stood solidly in my corner!
And that was the secret to Aunt Vesta. She didn’t love me or any of us more than any of the others. No, she adored every single one of the nieces and nephews as well as the greats and the great-greats, but somehow she made us all feel that we were the only one who mattered. It was a gift, and it affected all of us.
Aunt Vesta has been gone for a very long time now, and I think of her a lot. In fact, as crazy as it sounds, I was thinking about making something just recently and my heart dropped when I realized that I had reached for the phone, planning to call Aunt Vesta to get her to remind me how to do it.
6-2014…you have no idea what I would give up to be able to call that old number just one more time and hear my darling old Aunt Vesta answer, telling me to come right over, that she was just taking a pie out of the oven and we needed to have a slice while it was still warm.
Yes, Aunt Vesta believed a pie could cure all things. And you know what? When Aunt Vesta was around, it pretty much did.
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