All of the old ladies who lived in the valley looked the same. They all looked like my aunt. It was a regional look. I always thought it must have been because they all went to the same beauty parlor, but now I think it might be genetic..
On Sunday they all went to the same western themed restaurant with chandeliers made out of wagon wheels that hung above each table. Where you got a dinner salad with every dinner meal on the menu. Everyone went there for the salad dressing. They had a special Thousand Island dressing with extra salt in it. Potato chips were served with hamburgers and French fries came with the French dip. But what I liked was the paper place matt that had a map of the state and cartoons on it that I never seemed to tire off. In the lake there was a fisherman in a boat catching a fish. A cowboy on a horse over here and a logger in the forest over there.
My aunt looked like an old school teacher and had a chain on her cat eye glasses for hanging them around her neck although she always had them on her face. For all I know she really was an old school teacher. I don't think she ever went anywhere in her white Ford sedan without a white sweater and a large string of matching plastic beads. She had a white Angora cat named Sissy who made its way around the room behind the furniture and slept behind the fuel oil stove that was up against one wall in the front room of their house. When we came over my aunt would bring out a bowl of Chex Mix to serve us, an exotic delicacy for me. Something we never had at home. While my mom and aunt would visit I'd roam around outside behind the house where the fuel tank that supplied the stove sat out of view.
My Uncle had a shed back there where he made things out of wood. Over the door was a plywood fish. He made lamps that looked like covered wagons, and lamps that just looked like pieces of wood too short to make anything else. They just consisted of a piece of varnished plywood for the base and and upright piece of wood. I always marveled at how he got the cord to go up the inside out of sight. He made cribbage boards out of deer antlers, and crude duck decoys painted with whatever paint he had left over. His wood working varried in skill level. He seemed to produce lots of decoys and it looked to me like he didn't spend a lot of time on them. I'm sure if you put one in the water it would float upside down. He spent a lot of time on on the wagon lamps however. Not so much time on the regular board lamps.
They had a coffee table with a piece of glass on it with which they sandwiched old yellowing photos of family members that sort of matched the yellowing varnish of the table. If the conversation ever slowed down you could always resort to commenting on the photos. "That was George before he had his operation. He takes a hand full of pills now." "He hasn't been well for years." "He can't have salt."
Now when I return to that valley, the old women still all look the same. It must that beauty parlor.