McGee: Aunt Maude’s lessons priceless

A few days ago a bicycle shop customer overpaid me.

“Keep the change,” said the man.

Grant McGee

Grant McGee

“Well,” I said, “When I was a boy my Aunt Maude told me, ‘Boy, if someone hands you money you take it.’”

Maybe you had an aunt like Aunt Maude.

Aunt Maude was actually my great aunt — my father’s mother’s sister. Aunt Maude was the single aunt who left the mountains of home to be a nurse in New York City.

I once asked my grandmother why Aunt Maude had never married.

“Maude once had a beau, she liked him a lot, but he ‘run’ off with some other woman.”

Aunt Maude always showed up with her loud voice bearing gifts, always with the price tag still on them. “I want people to know how much money I spent on them,” she’d loudly proclaim.

Back in the day when you could walk out on the airport tarmac to greet folks coming off a plane, Aunt Maude would come out of the aircraft door, stop, hold her arm high, wave and yell, “YOO-HOO, HERE I AM.”

One time at the end of one of her visits, getting on the train that would take her back to New York City, Aunt Maude handed me a $20 bill.

“But it’s not Christmas or my birthday, Aunt Maude,” I said.

Aunt Maude gasped, leaned back and proclaimed in a loud voice, “BOY, WHEN SOMEONE HANDS YOU MONEY, YOU TAKE IT.”

Relatives were always telling me to be nice to Aunt Maude, that she’d probably leave me a lot of money when she died. I didn’t care about that; I thought that was a bad way to have a relationship with someone.

When she “went on to glory” many years ago there was nothing to leave anyone.

But that’s okay.

Aunt Maude left me with a pretty good saying to live by.

And you know, some good sayings for life are worth more than cash.


Grant McGee is a long-time broadcaster and former truck driver who rides bicycles and likes to talk about his many adventures on the road of life. Contact him at:

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