Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I have the best sister in the world. We are neighbors, co-workers, and life-long friends. She has and always has had the patience of Job. I say this because, well, I have a tendency to be a little on the spontaneous side, and have always had quite the flair for the dramatic. I've always told her that I count on her to keep me reined in, and she always comes through for me.
I remember my sister very rarely getting into trouble when we were growing up, and there's a simple reason for this. She just didn't mess up all that often. ME, on the other hand....well, let's just say I was probably one of those kids. You know them. They are the ones whose parents say, "If I'd had you first, you would have been an only child!" My parents never said anything like that to me. I don't know that they ever even thought it. I only know that if I'd been the one raising me, I definitely would have thought it, and probably would have said it!
I could tell stories for days about the shenanigans that went on around our house when we were growing up, but I'll just start with this one for now. People called us the Cleavers, except that my Mother did draw the line at house-cleaning in high heels while wearing a string of pearls. We were a family who always sat down for dinner together every evening. Meals were always home-cooked, and well-balanced.
We generally drank Kool-aid with our meals, and it was my sister's job to make and pour it. Every day, without hesitation, she would get herself into the kitchen to get that Kool-aid mixed up and poured. Every day. She also would pour just a little bit more Kool-aid in her glass than in mine. Me, with my finely-tuned subtle nuances, would screech and howl at the top of my lungs, "You got more Kool-aid than I did!!!!!" , to which she would reply, "Oh, I'll fix it". She then would proceed to drink the excess Kool-aid, savoring every extra drop! This always guaranteed an additional screech.
So...this was our routine. Kool-aid mixed, poured, screech, drink, screech again. We had ourselves a nice little system, UNTIL that infamous day when I was visiting with my grandmother. She loved to watch the soap operas. "The stories" is what she called them, and her favorite was "The Doctors". I noticed that, at least once during each episode, a righteously indignant woman would haul off and slap the dickens out of somebody. Sometimes it was a woman, sometimes it was a man. That part wasn't important. What WAS important was the reaction. The person being slapped, the slap-ee, if you will, always responded with a look of shocked horror, gasping and holding his or her cheek, followed by the screen immediately fading to black.
Hmmmm. I was fascinated by that sequence. Indignant slap, shocked gasp emitted by slap-ee, slap-ee holds cheek, fade to black. I loved it!!! Never being one to shy away from a little bit of creative experimentation, I was anxious for the opportunity to give this scenario a try myself. Of course I didn't have to wait long, because it was almost time for dinner, and, if you've been paying attention, you know what happens right before dinner. Yes.... none other than Kool-aid-Gate. I could not wait to finally see the wheels of justice turn and end this travesty forever. Just as predicted, my sister poured the Kool-aid into the glasses, and , of course, her glass had more. I screeched on cue, she drank the excess Kool-aid, and I followed through with a quick but very noisy backhand right across her cheek. She didn't skip a beat. She didn't bat an eye. What she DID do, was return the favor right across my cheek! If my memory serves me correctly, I believe the exact sequence went something like this, indignant slap, slap-ee (me!) emits shocked gasp, slap-ee (me!) holds cheek, fade to black, screech (again by me).
I'll never forget my mother's response. She never looked up, just said, "I'll bet you never slap your sister again".
And I didn't.