“THE PACK OF BASTARD’S!!!” This statement greeted me one day when I answered the phone. My Sweet Deifiúr was informing me that someone had elicited her wrath. The dimwitted fool raising her ire proved to be someone who I had complained about the day before on this blog. It is an old saying my Dear Sainted Mother would use when anyone said or did something wrong or about to one of her kids. This little bit of my mother is something that we have kept and use to soften each other when we are upset. Softening me in my battle with reality is something my Deifiúr does extremely well. It is part of the reason for this post. The chief purpose of my putting finger to key is as follows:
It is once more that time of year when I am obliged to engage in a ritual that has always been rather banal and uninteresting to me. My Sweet Deifiúr is celebrating her entrance into this world. The ritual I refer to is one where I go to the store, most probably my mercantile of choice owned and operated by the family of the Sage from Bentonville. I peruse the greeting card aisle and choose something that seems to say what I feel about this wonderful woman. I then go and attempt to locate a stamp and usually encounter someone who wishes to sell me thirty or forty stamps, even though all I require is one. I only send one piece of mail a year that requires postage. All other correspondence and business I perform on-line or in person The US Postal Service has been in financial trouble of late, and there is no way to tell if the stamps I buy today will be sufficient next year when I am in need of another. That is not to say that the price of the stamp, or the card for that matter, is the major concern. The interruption of my walkabout through this great and grand existence we call life is neither irritating nor infuriating. It is her birthday and I wholeheartedly wish to celebrate the massive gift the God of my understanding gave the world on September 3, 1948.
The true issue is the effort to deliver eight or ten words on a card that may or may not get to its destination on time, is horribly insufficient. It seems trite and, well, almost insulting for me to express the love and affection I have for my sister in so few words or actions. I am talking about a monumentally exceptional person and giant of a woman who goes about the business of being a true superhero in the quietest way, with dignity, compassion, and love. How are you going to say that in a two or three dollar card? I have always believed that I am not and have never been the brother she deserved. I have always been a true and regular pain in the ass. Unfortunately, it does not seem that I am liable to change that anytime soon.
Talking on the phone yesterday, I was assailing the healthcare system and the efficiency of the doctors I currently employ to see to my health. I am an old fart and it is no secret that I have a definite faculty to be a grouchy old fart. This does not seem to bother her. I told her that I was going to stop fussing at her because she did not do anything to deserve it. Her reply was simple… “I love you, you’re my brother.”
On those seldom times that I go visit her and Captain Domesticado, she turns her entire life over to me, and whatever schedule I wish. While there, we eat what I want, and if she does not get to bake me the apple pie I dearly love, she apologizes and makes sure there is something just as good for dessert.
My infirmities have gotten the best of me recently and I asked her to find a motel for me to stay in because the extra bed she has is not comfortable for me. She did not find a motel…she made herself and her other half sleep on the extra bed so that I could be comfortable. In her own house!
Growing up she took care of me as if I were her child and not her pain in the ass brother. She is responsible for naming me.
She is the foremost and certainly the #1 fan of T. Lloyd Reilly. She called me in a frenzy to tell me how wonderful it was that she had been able to go to a bookstore and buy a book that included a story I had contributed. She makes a point of telling all who will sit still and listen that her brother is a published author. If I had even a few fans that are just half as passionate about my search to be a full time writer, I would have publishing contracts galore. The first book with my work in it she made me sign…just as if I was some famous big shot writer. While signing it I heard her say, “This will be worth money someday.”
She is the only person in the world who does not freak out when I cry. I resist the need to shed tears in public, but not with her. She understands my hurt. She understands my frustration, and has no problem watching her brother cry. I am sure she thinks it is her job to comfort me when I am in distress. With the possible exception of my Dear Sainted Mother, she is better at it than anyone I have ever known.
I could not buy another predictable and mundane birthday card this year. I am struggling with life right now and the only one who really understands it is my sister. She has accepted the often times tedious chore of being a big sister with grace and kindness.
She reads every word I write and I hope she reads this and it gives her cause to smile. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PAULA. I LOVE YOU.