This old Cadillac rests peacefully on the side of the road in a neighboring county. Cadillacs are nice cars, no doubt, but we sure didn't see a whole lot of 'em growing up in Mathews County. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever ridden in one at all. I was fortunate enough to ride in a Lincoln Continental a few times with my grandmother's sister. If you can stay awake until the end of this post, you'll
My Great Aunt Viola, who we called Vollie because nobody could say Viola--and by the way, it was pronounced VOW-la, not Vie-OH-la, VOWla and this sentence is now over because I forgot the verb. Also? Her sister/my grandmother Bernice's name was pronounced BERniss, emphasis on the first syllable.
(Asleep yet? Hang tight. It's only a matter of time.)
Anywho, Vollie was married to a man named Douglas who owned M&G Transportation in Gloucester. M&G, which stands for Mathews and Gloucester, was in the building that's currently a seafood operation right next to the old antique store which used to be where my English teacher (Mrs. Martin) lived on Route 14...near that silo that has the pumpkin on it. Also, Chesapeake Bay Father used to drive tractor trailers for Douglas, and that's how he met Chesapeake Bay Mother.
(NOW are you asleep? If not, surely you're in a coma.)
Vollie was one of the funniest people who ever graced this planet, and that's a fact. She was an odd combination of Lilly Tomlin meets the Three Stooges--all three of them. Her laugh alone was hilarious, but the stories that came along with it--told in that slow, thick Tidewater accent--were even better. She was so funny she made herself laugh.
Sometimes it was hard to believe she was my dear Nanny's sister. Nanny worked jobs ranging from country store owner to janitor at Eastern State Hospital all her life. With just enough money to scrape by, lacking both a driver's license and a car, she had to walk to the store to buy groceries even in her sixties. Vollie had her own cook and drove a lap dog named Pepper around in a Lincoln Continental (or as Archie Bunker calls it a Lincoln Contarental).
In spite of the difference in creature comforts, though, you'd never know they were anything but sisters if you saw them together. The only discernible difference was Vollie was the happy, funny one and Nanny was the cautious one worrying about everything.
Although I've told this about Great Aunt Vollie before (thousands of posts ago, I'm sure you remember....are you asleep YET?), it is worth repeating. One time she and my mother were in the grocery store, and, spying some shrimp Vollie exclaimed very loudly, "Oh look! It's cock shrimptail!" She was also the one who was dying to see the movie Porkies and didn't discover until well after the movie started that, much to her chagrin, it had nothing to do with Porky the Pig.
She never intended to be funny, but she always was. I miss her and her dog named Pepper, but most of all I miss her laughter and that of those lucky enough to see the Vollie Show.