It probably sounds like I'm laying it on thick, but it's true. You can search the world and you won't find a brighter, friendlier, more easy-going, or more likeable person. The fact that she also calls my creaky ol' cricket father "Kiddo!" or "Little Bro!" just adds to the effect. Think of Professor Sprout with once-upon-a-time red hair, and you'll be on the right track.
What made me think about her is that we (meaning laurie_robey and I, my parents, and my sister) all went over to Iris' daughter's house for a Christmas visit on the weekend just before new years', which was the first time for a couple of years that I'd seen her. She is still as bright and energetic as ever ... the only discernible change is that she just keeps on getting more crinkly. :)
However, like my dad, she is getting along in years and I don't want to just realize one day that she's up and gone. And, since we've got an open invitation to go down to her place in Chesapeake sometime for navy bean soup and crabcake, I am working on trying to arrange it. As I was so impressed by Smithfield Inn when we went there this past year, I'm thinking a night at laurie_robey's parents' house, a night at Smithfield, and a night at Iris's, or some such thing this spring.
I'm not sure what we'd do down there, other than visit relations. Most of my life I've been kinda useless around family, being somewhat eccentric and quite the introvert, but I'll do my best. :)
PS: Weird bit of trivia: Aunt Iris was taken off and raised by relatives on the Eastern Shore for a few key years during the depression, and picked up the pronunciation from over there. Thus, she says "hoowse" instead of "house" and "yeew" instead of "you" for instance, despite being a Fairfax County native. Her legions of grandkids and great-grandkids are forever nudging her about it. ;)