Her name was Gladys, and she was my aunt. But not really. She was one of those women familiar to a family, my youngest sister’s godmother, but not related by blood. She and her husband Irv had a motor home, and sometimes we would visit them in the summer. I remember that it was camping and that the adults drank throughout the day. This strikes me as an odd detail because I could not have been more than 6 or 7 years-old at the time.
Gladys was a weathered woman with a casual, husky laugh. She and Irv would park their little motorhome in a forested area at Priest Lake, Idaho. I fell in love with homefries, thanks to Aunt Gladys—perfectly done in a cast iron skillet, crispy yet tender. Perfect. And huckleberries picked for pancakes or straight from the bush and plopped into eager mouths. I remember the adults would play cards—pinochle—and we would be left to our own devices, exploring the forest and talking to fairies who showed us where we might find the choicest berries.