Kay Math is a wonder and a beloved aunt. In addition to parenting her five children, she is a mom to many of her nieces and nephews. She taught me how to sew, iron, shuck corn, slice a tomato and churn butter. By example, she showed me how to be a gracious hostess and a positive person. Above all, she showed me what a mom looks like. I had one, but she was unconventional in every way. Aunt Kay was June Cleaver, only better because you could be a part of every episode of her life.
She was good at everything, or so it seemed to a ten-year-old. She beat me every time we played tennis. Family dinner was the centerpiece of her day. There were so many children at the kitchen table that we looked like packed sardines. I was always amazed that eight and occasionally nine people could arrive in the same spot at the same time. Aunt Kay made dinner every night, and it was good and it was still warm by the time you dug in. And she smiled and spoke to each of us.
She threw parties to mark every milestone as I grew: Sweet 16, high school graduation, engagement. Each celebration featured a gracefully set table: white linen table-cloth, colorful assortments of lilies, tall tapered candles, shiny silver and delicate, embroidered napkins. There was always something handmade at the table as well. She ordered a white sheet cake filled with fresh strawberries and covered in white butter cream for every occasion.
I visit Aunt Kay nearly every summer with my children, She makes blueberry pie and churns butter with Matt and Emma. Then she uses the remaining milk to make buttermilk pancakes. She makes the best mashed potatoes, meatballs, stuffed peppers and cookies. Last summer, I polished off two lemon chicken cutlets for breakfast because they were too good to wait until lunch to eat.
Everyone I know loves my Aunt Kay for her generosity, kindness, spirit, creativity, and cooking. Happy Mother’s Day Aunt Kay!