Aunt Denise

By
Kindness in Colorado



BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! It’s 4:30 A.M. and Aunt Denise is up and getting ready to begin her day. She eats breakfast with her husband (my Uncle Dan) and they head off to work together at 5:45. During the day, Aunt Denise teaches a special needs class at the local elementary school along with two intensive reading groups (one in the morning and one in the afternoon). She drives back to the ranch, also in Pueblo, around 4 P.M. Once at home, she and Uncle Dan share the chores of feeding the horses, collecting chicken eggs from the coop and gardening (this is always Aunt Denise’s job). After a long day’s work and finishing their chores, Aunt Denise makes dinner and together they sit down to a quiet supper. Though she seems like an ordinary person, Aunt Denise is truly a loving caring person. Because of this, I chose her to be my hero.

Aunt Denise’s childhood is somewhat like her life is now. In her youth, she was surrounded by people who she loved and who loved her in return. Aunt Denise lived in a warm and caring environment held together by her wonderful parents and siblings. Every night her mother would read to her and the other children before bed and make sure they were happy. Aunt Denise loved and respected both her parents for who they were and never deceived them.

Like her early childhood, Aunt Denise’s adolescent years were wonderful and she came out of them unscathed. Because all of her friends shared the same values and beliefs, they formed a community that repelled the thought of drugs, alcohol and smoking. One of the reasons why they never were into any of that was because their lives were centered around church and also because Jesus was with them. “…I never wanted to sneak out or do things to upset my parents. I respected and loved them.” This just goes to show that because she had such great parents; Aunt Denise was never pushed over the edge to do something stupid to make them angry. She also told me that, when confronted with peer pressure, “…stop and think what the end result might be. Is it worth doing or being someone you really don’t want to be?” This is great advice for any teenager facing friends who want them to do something they don’t want to do. I have a strong feeling that she followed her own advice. Just by talking to her, you are able to discern that Aunt Denise was just as warm hearted and strong minded as she was in her youth.

After years of growing up in a loving household with amazing parents, Aunt Denise blossomed into an aspiring young adult. She married Uncle Dan and had two children, Christine and Rebecca. She home schooled them and took care of them as her mother did for her. The family stood together when having to move around, living in a trailer, for Uncle Dan’s job and comforted each other when they lost their youngest daughter, Rebecca, at the age of twenty-one. She had been with her friends on a train track when a train came. All of her friends had moved out of the way in time but she just wasn’t quick enough and the train decapitated her. Aunt Denise still grieves for the loss that they experienced ten years ago. It changed her perspective on life. She told me, “I cherish each moment I spend with friends and family, for I never know if it may be the last.”
Even with that grim event in her life, Aunt Denise is the most happy and youthful person I know. Whenever my family and I visit them in Colorado, her smiling face is the first figure we see. Aunt Dan and Denise, the name they were given to by my brother when he was two, continually welcome us into their home with hearts that are warm and full to the brim of stories that, most definitely, would start out with, “When you were little…” Aunt Denise told me this one, “When you were around a year and a half, y’all came to visit us at the hotel we were staying at, up on Chapel Hill. We were all gathered around talking and then you got real quiet. It turns out that you had left us and gone into the guest room’s closet. You had gotten out my green food coloring from my cake decorating kit and smeared it all over your face and the bottoms of your feet. When asked about what you had been doing, you didn’t say anything but we found little green foot prints all over our cream colored carpet! Although the carpet was worthless, I didn’t get mad at you.” Now, I don’t remember what happened, but by the sound of it, I had a knack of getting into trouble by having little “adventures”. This story just goes to show how forgiving Aunt Denise is, even though I ruined the carpet.
She also told me about the time when my mother came down with pneumonia and wasn’t able to take care of my brother and me. Aunt Denise stayed for a whole week to watch us and to make sure my mom grew better.
Whenever my family visits them out in Colorado, Aunt Dan and Denise take us fossil hunting in the dry river beds all over their 50 acres of land. We will also help Aunt Denise in her garden and collect eggs from the chicken coop.
Aunt Denise works the elementary school as a special needs teacher. Though lately she has been helping out with the regular second grade class because of a shortage of teachers, Aunt Denise’s true class is a special needs group, usually centered around the grades K- 5. She teaches them everything from to .
The true reason why Aunt Denise is my hero is because she it the most loving and caring person I have ever met. She never fails in putting others needs before her own and would never even stop to think about not helping someone in need. If I ever had a question or a problem, or anyone for that matter, she would jump at the chance to share her advice or thoughts on the subject. In my opinion, I think Uncle Dan says it best. “She is a well rounded person with the best of intentions when it comes to her friends. She would be my definition of care and concern for others.” And that she is.





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