Wednesday, December 29, 2010


They are glorious creatures when treasured and treated correctly. We are given the opportunity by God to create a bond that can be so formidable it carries us through pimples, first kisses, husbands, births, deaths, and laundry.

This bond does not need blood lines to exist…

Jo has a daughter. All- American good looks. Feisty. Loyal. Affectionate.

Oh, and opinionated.

Maria and I immediately claimed her as our friend and she did the same with us. We were always together…talking, playing “college girls”, spying on our parents, talking, bossing the boys around, talking, performing dance recitals, and fort building. And did I mention talking?

We solved so many problems when we were together…just talking. We solved our parents’ problems, the boys’ immaturity issues, mean-teacher syndromes, bullies’ emotional repressions, and so on. We voiced our solutions regularly. I don’t know why no one ever listened to us.

Usually, creating a sisterly bond with someone who doesn’t live with you takes time. This one did not.

No matter how long we are a part, when we see each other again, we pick up right where we left off. Maria, Wendy, and I are blessed to have her.

She is a definite mix of contradictions. She would play outside in her best dress, prance around like a princess and then climb trees in the blink of an eye.

She loved make-up. And nail polish and jewelry. She had boyfriends by the time she was in the fourth grade. (And that was plural, by the way.)

She is wickedly smart, didn’t get grossed out when Jack split her finger in half, is not ashamed to show a little skin, and most of her favorite movies almost always have two guys fighting over one girl.

There is so much more to say, but instead of telling you, I will hopefully show you. Until then, here is a little dialogue for you:

“Let’s play college girls,” I say. “I’ll be Victoria!”

“I’ll be Maria!” my sister declares.

“I’ll be Hot Lips,” says our new sister. “No, just Hot.” A thoughtful look crosses her face. “No, just Lips.” More thinking. “No, Hot Lips.”

(She only used this name once. So, I’ll be nice and not change her name to Hot Lips.)

Usually, she was…Roxi.

Friday, December 17, 2010

You are so drop dead gorgeous!

Grace was the mother of two boys. Redheaded they were and I looked like their sister. It fooled people so much that often I was mistaken for Grace’s daughter.

The oldest of Grace’s children was probably the cutest kid I have ever seen.

Like I said, his hair was red. But, it curled just a little bit. And his eyes glowed with merriment and happiness and sometimes mischief. Give him a green top hat and you’ve got yourself the cutest Leprechaun ever!

He was the first peace maker. He was everyone’s friend and everyone’s comforter. He had the ability to get between me and Jack and steer us in some kind of direction, so we would make a decision.

(So, who was the real leader, I wonder?)

He never met a person he didn’t like. Everyone was worth knowing and he was awed by everyone he met.

He asked question, after question, after question. And he was always learning. Always making something.

The greatest thing he ever made was pure joy. Spend one minute with him and he made you feel good about yourself. Loved. Liked.

And apparently he had dreamy eyes and a killer smile. Wendy thought he was drop dead gorgeous! She wrote him her first love note in the first grade.

And, of course, he was ever so sweet to her.

So, he shall be called Gorgeous.

Inside and out, he always was and still is.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Fort That Jack Built

I am going to introduce my friends in order of birth. (Though, I am still the oldest.)

I was a loud child, boisterous when my feelings weren’t hurt, bossy as long as I knew I wasn’t hurting someone’s feelings, and always rarin’ to go.

I met my match when Jack came into my life.

Jack was just as boisterous, just as bossy, and just as ready to live life as I was. Consequently, we fought a lot.

I had ideas about what we should do for fun and so did he. And God help us if our ideas didn’t match. We would argue for probably 10 minutes, wasting precious play time, while our friends groaned and waited for us to make up our minds.

I won a lot.

But so did he because I was a tomboy and Jack loved to play games outside and build stuff. He would build forts in the empty lot next to his house. We would help…most of the time.

The girls didn’t like it when I let Jack win. (Let…he he he.) They weren’t tomboys and didn’t want to play Hide-And-Seek, or build forts. Maria was so annoying whenever we would play Hide-And-Seek. Whenever she was “it”, she would say she was tired and go back inside. It always stopped us from playing. (SO ANNOYING!)

When I won, we usually made the boys dance to the soundtrack from “American Graffiti”. I’m pretty sure the only reason why they are good dancers now is because we made them practice at such an early age.

Jack and I were the oldest and the ring leaders and we fought for control. But I couldn’t have thought up all the fun we had on my own. He is, without doubt, the best instigator of fun I have ever known. In this instance, he is a lot like his mother, Jo.

And though we argued, and I could make him pretty cotton pickin’ mad, we loved each other anyway. I wouldn’t have my driver’s license if it weren’t for him. My wedding reception would’ve been ruined if not for him.

And as adults, we can still fight. (You should see us play Charades.) But he is our protector. Our champion. And if I could steal a few lines from a song that reminds me of him…

“Nothing’s gonna harm you. No one’s gonna dare. Others may desert you, not to worry, whistle I’ll be there. Demons may charm you with a smile, for awhile, but in time…nothing can harm you, not while I’m around.

…they should show you exactly who Jack was and is.