My Sister Jeannie

I don’t think I tell my sister enough about how much I admire her. She was standing out by the back door, watching Teddy, Lorrie, and Mel playing on the swing set. She cleared her throat a bit and sighed.

It didn’t take a genius to figure out that she was thinking about Lorrie and Teddy and how she only got to be the mother of one of the two children that she gave birth to.

Lex came up behind me and put her arm around me as I stood down the hallway and watched my sister as she watched the kids. Lex leaned over and kissed me on the cheek and then nudged me in Jeannie’s direction.

I was a little on the nervous side as I approached her. I put my hands on Jeannie’s shoulders and turned her towards me. “Thank you.” That’s all I said, but the gazes that passed between us said volumes.

Jeannie hugged me until I thought she would never let go. I hugged her back just as hard. Raising her head from my shoulder, Jeannie spotted Lex wiping a tear from her eye. She gave me one more squeeze and shouted, “GROUP HUG!”. She tore after Lex and chased her around the house until Lex bolted out the front door. Naturally, I was running right after them, laughing and crying at the same time.

Martha was on the way up to the house from her cottage about that time. She put her hands on her hips in true Martha fashion, and called out, “Lexie! What have I told you about running in the house?”

Lex was so surprised that she stood stock still, which, of course, gave Jeannie and me just enough of a break to tackle Lex to the ground. Followed by the kids, yelling, laughing and hurling their short little bodies at the pile of mothers on the ground.

“Lost their minds. I knew it was just a matter of time, but they’ve gone completely insane.” Martha shook her head. As for us, we were totally lost to our laughing and playing. “C’mon, Freckles. Maybe I can make lunch for you.” Freckles happily barked her agreement.

I love my family.


Why God Made Locks

The first thing I am going to do today is to go to town and buy a lock for our bedroom door.

I remember years ago when all we had to worry about was Martha waking us up when Lex and I had gone to bed au naturale. Now we have the kids.

“Momma? How come your pajamas are on inside out?”

“Mommy? How come Momma’s pajamas…Mommy where are your pajamas?”

For many years, we were able to convince the girls of some ridiculous reason our pajamas had other places to be, other than on our bodies. But Lorrie got old enough for “the talk”. You know the one.

Lex and I argued for days about who should have the honor of explaining to our daughter what she had probably figured out on her own already. Neither one of us wanted to face her alone, so we eventually came to the conclusion that two parents were safer than one.

Needless to say, it was an enlightening talk, and when it was over, we learned much more about what our daughter was aware of. Much more.

Last weekend, while shopping with my grandmother, Lex, and the kids, Lex took the girls to the cookie vendor at the food court. While we waited, my grandmother and I stood outside of Victoria’s Secret . I spied a red teddy in the shop’s window and by the way I kept staring at it, my grandmother easily deduced that I wanted to buy the teddy for Lex.

“Don’t you think Lex would look amazing in that teddy, Dearest? Red is such a good color on her.”

My head whipped around to stare open-mouthed at my grandmother, MY GRANDMOTHER, who wore a smug look on her face at my discomfiture.

“…GRANDMA! I…you’re not supposed…GRANDMA!”

Later on, my grandmother said that the shocked expression on my face was priceless. I was shocked to the core at hearing MY GRANDMOTHER making a comment like that. While I stood there trying to get my mind back from the billions of pieces it had exploded into, MY GRANDMOTHER marched right into Victoria’s Secret and bought the red teddy. I have to say, the look on the sales girl’s face was great, as she tried not to show her own disbelief of my grandmother buying such an item.

Grandma had the teddy gift-wrapped and attached a card that simply said, “From an admirer.” By the time Lex showed up with the kids, my grandma had slipped the wrapped package under my arm and had given me a wink.

“Watcha got?” Lex asked. Melanie’s attention seem wholly absorbed by her cookie. But Lorrie, the observant one piped up.

“Mommy, why is your face all red? Hey! Victoria’s Secret? Isn’t that the one on TV that has all those…um..ooooh! Hey mom, didja buy something there? Gonna show us?”

The redder my face got, the more questions Lorrie asked. And the harder she and my grandmother laughed. Lex was much more appreciative and saved her comments for when the package was unwrapped at home. Although, she insisted that I try on the teddy first.

That night, I peeked out from behind the bathroom door to see Lex perched on the bed with an expectant smirk on her face. With her encouragement, I walked up to Lex so that she could…um…examine the outfit. Just as she was exploring how well the teddy fit my curves, with her lips and hands, guess who barges into our room?

Like I said. I’m buying a lock.

A Thanksgiving Memory My Sister Wants to Forget

My sister Jeannie complains that I don’t take her culinary skills seriously. I told her that I really do. Every new cooking experience she has turns into a disaster. Heck, last Thanksgiving, even her own oven rebelled and refused to be involved in her first attempt at hosting Thanksgiving dinner at her house.

We usually host the holiday meals at our place since it’s big enough for our large, extended family and a few unexpected guests. But last year, it was just Jeannie and Rodney, their son, Teddy, and our little family of four. Martha and Charlie had gone to Florida for a short vacation with Amanda’s grandparents and her father and Lois, so Jeannie decided that it was the perfect opportunity for her little trio to be the family’s Thanksgiving hosts.

Everything seemed to be going fine, despite my prognostications of doom and inedible food. That was until the potatoes boiled over on the stove, causing the self-cleaning oven to lock up and auto-clean with the turkey and dressing still inside.

We had to banish the kids to the backyard to play when Teddy innocently asked: “Why does Mommy’s dinner smell so bad?” And Melanie complained, “Momma, can I have a peanut butter sandwich instead?” Of course, our diplomatic child, Lorrie, didn’t help much either when she told the other two kids, “Well, at least the oven will eat Aunt Jeannie’s cooking.”

When Jeannie realized there was no way to save the turkey, she was mortified and vowed to make good on our Thanksgiving meal. Lex and Jeannie took off to the supermarket for whatever they had available. Somehow, I had visions of a Thanksgiving Spam loaf, re-shaped like a turkey.

No sooner did Jeannie and Lex pull out of the driveway, than her husband and I came down with an uncontrollable case of the giggles. Pretending to be the turkey, Rodney got down by the oven door and begged in a high-pitched voice, “Help me! Get me out of here!” Then we proceeded to tell every bad turkey joke we could think of.

Me: “Why doesn’t a turkey cross the road like the chicken does?”
Rodney: “It’s stuck in the oven!”

Rodney: “What do you have when your turkey gets stuck in a self-cleaning oven?”
Me: “Something really fowl-smelling!”

Still laughing, Rodney got his tool box out, and together we dismantled the oven door, wrapped the horrible looking bird in newspaper, and I made a quick trip to the nearest dumpster to dispose of the evidence.

By the time that Lex and Jeannie got back with our substitute Thanksgiving dinner, the door was back on the oven, the kitchen was clean, and the tools had been put away. As for the oven, it never cooked another meal. It simply refused to cook anything Jeannie put inside of it.

But Jeannie wants to try again. No way! This year, Thanksgiving is at the RockingW.