A few years ago, my Aunt Gerdie, who married my Uncle Adolph (an older brother to my Mom) was dying.
I was in Los Angeles at the time, and Aunt Gerdie was living with Uncle Adolph in Binghamtom, New York. So, unfortunately, I was only able to telephone her. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful conversation - and here's how it went:
The phone rings, and Aunt Gerdie picks up...
"Hi, Aunt Gerdie - it's Herbie J."
"Oh, Herbie J - how are you? So nice to hear from you."
"More importantly - how are YOU, Aunt Gerdie? I've heard you're not feeling so good."
"I'm okay...and I appreciate the call..."
"No big deal, Aunt Gerdie...no big deal."
"Hey Herbie J?"
"Yes, Aunt Gerdie...?"
"You know what I remember about you, Herbie J?"
"What, Aunt Gerdie...?"
"Well - one day, your Uncle Adolph and I were visiting Erie Street..."
"...And I was in the kitchen, and I was just about to go out onto the big porch in the back of the house...Do you remember that porch, Herbie J?"
"Yes, Aunt Gerdie. I remember the porch very well."
"Well, this one day...I walked out onto that porch and you were sitting there, playing with some popsicle sticks. You couldn't have been more than five or six-years-old. Do you remember, Herbie J?"
"Not really, Aunt Gerdie. No."
"Anyway...there was this big black ant that was right behind you...Do you remember those big black ants from that porch, Herbie J?"
"I do, Aunt Gerdie. I do remember those ants."
"Well, this one ant was crawling up right behind you, and I went to raise my foot to step on it and kill it. But you know what you did, Herbie J?"
"No, Aunt Gerdie. What did I do?"
"You put up your hand to block me from killing that big black ant, and said, "Please, Aunt Gerdie. Please don't kill that ant. What did that ant every do you?"
"Really? I said that, Aunt Gerdie?"
"Yes, you did, Herbie J, you said that. And you know what, Herbie J?"
"What, Aunt Gerdie?"
"From that moment on, I never killed or try to kill another black ant or any kind of an insect ever again....because of you, Herbie J. Because of you."
"I love you, Aunt Gerdie."
"I love you, too, Herbie J. I love you, too."