Dear Aunt Louella and Uncle Lester is a collection of 3+ years worth of letters written by Penn
Dwain's three decades of writing letters began back in 1976 after his mother survived a bout with breast cancer. To express his great joy in God sparing his dear Mama, he wrote his Daddy's sister, Louella Penn White and her husband, Lester DeWitt White, both formerly of Thomaston. Penn vowed to write the couple every three months to share with them historical events about the family. Louella had researched the Penn lineage back to a soldier, Roland de LaPenne who fought with William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
The book is filled with humor, starting with Daddy's constipation on the first page! Lengthy descriptive passages include family Christmases, Penn's visits to the Met Opera in Atlanta (when he met Luciano Pavarotti one year) and his church's failed attempt to host a arts and crafts fair. Since the book contains letters, the format has remained as first published in 1999 - typewriter font.
194 pages $ 9.95
Soon the weekend was upon me as I bravely pulled into the Thomaston driveway dreading the next 48 hours. As I clambered from my car, stiff from the weekly pilgrimage, David and Darrel scampered from the house as ants on a very warm day emerging from an anthill to inspect a trespasser. They assisted me in unloading the car yet the reason for their helpfulness was soon revealed in our conversation.
"Will you take us fishing tomorrow?" asked David taking an item and quickly taking the lead back to the house.
My heart sank. Daddy managed to pass the buck.
"But I want to see Bugs Bunny tomorrow," I stated hoping to refresh their memory that the next day was indeed "cartoon day."
"Are you a cartoon freak, too?" asked Darrel awkwardly trailing behind with his load.
Two trips later, the car was empty and the house was full - oh, so full! It was delightful to learn that Barbara had supper ready - a modest, yet nourishing meal of meat loaf, beans and corn. As we settled down to eat, I held firm to my desire to watch Bugs Bunny.
Twelve hours later, we found ourselves upon a dewy bank of a local pond. Barbara and Dustin stayed at home (probably to watch Bugs Bunny!). As expected with two talkative youngsters, our luck wasn't very good. David caught one fish and hooked another. When he let Darrel pull in the second fish, the line became tangled and broke allowing the fish to get away.
The dew dried under the warming sun as my chance of watching at least one cartoon dwindled in the progressing hours of the morning. At 9:30 Dave admitted defeat and suggested that we exchange the rapidly warming weather for the air-conditioned comfort of the den back home. Quickly dismantling the poles and gathering up the tackle, we arrived home in time for me to see one half of one cartoon. I had missed my weekend "tonic" and of all weekends, when I needed it the most. However, I did survive.
I went outside to find the young fishermen proudly posing with their catch for pictures. Upon Dave's instructions, the fish was then beheaded, cleaned and frozen for a future meal. Changing clothes, I politely excused myself to go do some grocery shopping as the clock revealed that the morning was nearly exhausted with only ninety minutes left.
How quickly and enjoyably those ninety minutes expired. I had to contend with a host of obstacles in the local supermarket. There were conscientious housewives who blocked the aisles as they scanned product labels for purchase dates or ingredient panels and sulking husbands who grudgingly followed their wives around like whipped puppies. Then there were the speed shoppers dashing recklessly around the store in the hopes of salvaging some of the morning for housework. And perhaps the most trying of all grocery shoppers are those with children. The children are always crying, either because they couldn't get the cereal with the green frog on the box or because they realized that they, too, missed Bugs Bunny! With every aisle that I turned into, my shopping spree became pleasanter and pleasanter compared to what awaited back home.