Wonderful Wanda

66314_1216990642783_7375932_nI can’t be there to do so personally, so if you see my Aunt Wanda this week in Advance, Mo., please wish her a happy birthday.

Wanda Lanpher turns 80 on Thursday.

I moved away from my hometown in 1985 but a piece of Aunt Wanda — and my beloved Uncle Paul — never leaves me.

That’s what happens when you dish out love the way they do.

Everything about Aunt Wanda is larger than life.

She has a big family, having reared five upstanding children and doted on a slew of grand- and great-grandkids. She boasts a laugh that is both inimitable and contagious. And her meals, particularly on the holidays, have to be tasted to be appreciated.

It is comforting to know that when I knock on her door, I’m embraced like one of her own.

Uncle Paul greets me from his easy chair or, as more often the case, is called in from outdoors. We sit around the dining room table, swapping stories, sipping hot tea, nibbling on goodies. I look out the window upon a countryside that gives me peace.

The ritual never gets old.

In my eyes, neither does Aunt Wanda.

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