Aunt Ann is a hippie and has known me for as long as I have been alive. That said, she’s neither my aunt nor a hippie. The aunt part is rational enough: that’s what everyone told me to call her. But presumably my spongy toddler brain meats decided she was a carefree liberal because of all the paper mache, tie dye shirts, and plaster casts we made at the beach on vacation. You can imagine my surprise when I found out several years ago that she is actually pretty conservative. That's obviously just fine, but my mind was blown. It was like finding out one day she had been replaced by a doppleganger from another dimension.
She and my mother gave me barbecued chicken from a roadside stand as my first solid food. She was my preschool teacher and I’m reasonably certain is the Scribe’s godmother [She is your godmother - the Scribe]. Every year we’d go camping on Assateague Island, where she and my mother would stay up drinking wine in their tent and engage in some stereotypical female bonding. I'm sure it was on Assateague where she told me that if I stuck my finger too far up my nose, a sabre-toothed snail would bite it off.*
And most importantly, she contributed to the Book of Lambert. I give you Aunt Ann’s Potato Loaf recipe!
Aunt Ann’s Potato Loaf
1/2 can mushroom soup
1 lb ground beef
1/4 C chopped onion
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 C bread crumbs
2 Tbsp parsley
Salt + peper
Mix. Put in baking dish. Bake @ 350 degrees ~ 35-30 min. Drain fat[,] make mashed potatoes. Put potatoes on top. Cover with other 1/2 can soup and grated cheese. Put in over another 10 min.
Archivist’s Note: Many of the recipes in the Book of Lambert call for mashed potatoes as if everyone knows how to make them. Decades ago that might have been true, but in this day and age that’s not an assumption we here at the Book of Lambert can make. We, your humble researchers, will post a family recipe for them at some point in the future. Hold on to your britches, people -- them taters are going to be tasty! (Actually, I'm just assuming there's a family recipe. There might not be, in which case you should probably google around for one.)
* Scribal Marginalia: Because you're all thinking it:
A Warning by Shel Silverstein
Inside everybody's nose
There lives a sharp-toothed snail.
So if you stick your finger in,
He may bite off your nail.
Stick it farther up inside,
And he may bite your ring off.
Stick it all the way, and he
May bite the whole darn thing off.
However, Aunt Ann is responsible for creating the myth of the Choptank River monster.
Even if Aunt Ann actually were the source of the snail story, it is hardly the most noteworthy thing she did. Every Halloween she dressed as a witch - a really scary nightmarish one - and set up shop at night in the middle of the long walkway that led to her door. Little girls dressed as fairies would stand crying at the head of walk. Children who ventured down the path had to watch her slowly beckoning them onward with a ghastly grin and threats to throw them in her cauldron. One time the Archivist had a Halloween party and Aunt Ann never broke character even when the kids started all crying. One time some guy got mad at her and said he was in WWII and knew what it was like to be scared. Her husband, Bud, replied, "Well, I was in Korea and I have to live with her!" Probably had to be there. Which I wasn't, come to think of it.
In preschool, she also took the class on this round about trail through the woods and over fallen trees to this patch of open grass behind some tennis courts that she called The Meadow. That's where the Easter Bunny was always waiting.
Archivist's Note: The Scribe was at the Halloween party where Aunt Ann made all my friends cry. He was dressed as a kung fu fighter and was wearing a semi-opaque, skin-colored plastic mask that had a mustache. It made him look like he had decided to wear someone else's face after he had peeled it off. Aunt Ann had corralled a bunch of terrified, screaming little kids into a room and the Scribe acted as her enforcer by blocking the way out, laughing, and taunting us. This is just another example of the delight the Scribe takes in the sorrow of others. He probably drank tears instead of coffee that morning.