The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

She Makes Me Miss Scotland!!

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I received a phone call this morning and no one was there. The call display only indicated “long distance” and after saying hello a couple of times I assumed it was a crank call or wrong number so I hung up. Within a couple of minutes it rang again, only this time a wee little woman’s voice with a Scottish brogue on the other end asked “Is this Tweela’s?”.  “Yes”, I replied racking my brain wondering who this was. I knew it wasn’t anyone from around here and I was bewildered. “It’s Auntie Bella”, she said. I was flabbergasted. I laughed and immediately launched into the niceties of “How are you?” At the same time and within a split second wondered who had died.

“Auntie Bella” is actually Nat’s cousin in Scotland and had called thinking we had called her. She said she had received a call “Long Distance” and, after checking with the rest of her family, Nat was the only one left she could think of that might have phoned. She knew it wasn’t her daughter (she talks to her on Tuesdays), she knew it wasn’t her son in Australia (he calls Sunday mornings when it’s free) so she called Nat. I was relieved and pleased at the same time.

Nat was on an errand so we chatted for a few minutes. She had me in stitches with her wee explanation for calling and we soon got caught up on both of our medical conditions. Despite the fact that she’s 89, she’s sharp as a wit, had remembered about my transplant, and I her recent heart valve operation!!! We spoke for about 10 minutes when Nat arrived home and I handed the receiver to him. I didn’t want him to miss the opportunity of at least saying hello.

Wee Bella – and she is a wee thing – kept her dear cousin (or as she may say nephew) on the phone for over 30 minutes. She admitted she has the gift of gab but who can blame her. She’s still in her own home, galavants all over the country, including Australia, and keeps active in her garden growing roses. For her birthday she and two other friends (one of which was 90 years old) went to a restaurant at the local airfield for lunch. When asked by the waiter what they would like to drink she promptly replied “I’m 89, my friend her is 90, and I’ll have a ginger beer”.  When someone else had implied that Bella was 90, she promptly corrected them and said, “No, I’m 89″. It’s a fact, when you pass the age of 60, one year makes a huge difference! Even at 59, I’m beginning to think the same way as Bella and correct anyone who thinks otherwise that I’m only 59!.

She also relayed to Nat that she was given two options about her heart valve situation. She was told she could either take pills or have an operation. She chose the operation!!! She told Nat she’s had enough of pills and didn’t want to deal with that anymore. So there!!! As a result she was sent down to Edinburgh, to one of the best hospitals in Scotland, for the operation. When asked by Nat how things went, she replied “Awful”.  “What do you mean by awful”, asked Nat. “The food – the food was awful”, she said. That’s Bella!!!!

Having met Bella when Nat and I were last in Scotland I fell in love with her immediately. She remembers everything, forgets nothing, is cute as a button and grows beautiful roses. She knew and remembered more about Nat’s heritage than Nat did. I wrote as fast as she could talk so I could bring our family heritage book up-to-date and relished in her stories. For a few fleeting moments I felt I had stepped back in time, sitting on a brocade sofa in a living room filled with family pictures of long, long ago, along with recent ones of grandchildren, all in a beautiful little country cottage in Dunfermline. I felt at home and as if I had known Bella all of my life. Being the new bride in the family it was evident from her warmth and charm that I had her blessing. It was hard to leave, but leave we must as there were other family relatives to visit on that day’s itinerary.

As Nat said his goodbyes (which were attempted several times during the conversation) I could tell it was difficult for him. This is another reason we’re blessed with today’s technology – it’s so easy to just pick up that phone and call someone you love. We try never to miss such an opportunity, especially when time is so fleeting!

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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