My favorite Aunt Chrissy story takes place on Eater Sunday 1975.....
Scene: A bustling kitchen in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A mother scurries about, getting Easter dinner ready. She glances to her left and sees her youngest daughter standing in the doorway.
Mother: Chrissy, I told you that I'm really busy right now and need to get this dinner ready. Can you go play with your Barbies for a few minutes, sweetheart?
Chrissy: Sure, Mommy. But I have so many things to tell you that I thought I would stand here and talk to you while you cook. That way I can fulfill my need to be talking every waking moment of the day and you get to spend some quality time with me.
Mother: Why don't you go wait for Grandma and Uncle Connie to get here?
The little girl walks to the front closet, gets her little green velvet coat, and heads out to the front porch. She sits on the cold hard cement and thinks about what a bust this holiday has been for her. Yesterday, she and her brilliant and gorgeous older sister Constance were playing nuns. This was an activity that they both loved, and two white terry cloth bath towels were always put into use as a simple yet effective head-covering.
Yesterday, though, something seemed off. Constance was out of sorts and was bossier than usual. "Nuns don't have curly hair", she grumbled. "We need to get rid of those stupid curls sticking out of your head thingie."
"OK", the little girl said as she trotted off to get the big scissors. "Will you cut it for me, Coni Jo? I'm only four and not allowed to use the big scissors."
The older sister grinned as she maniacally snipped and snipped all of the gorgeous light brown curls away from her little sister's face.
"There", said Constance. "Now you look like a real nun."
As she reflected on the ensuing spanking that both she and her sister received, the little girl wondered why it was such a big deal that she would have to go to Easter Sunday Church services with her hat on. Didn't everybody wear a hat for Easter?
Later that afternoon, the mother stopped the dinner preparations to call out to the little girl.
Mother: Chrissy? Where are you, honey? Come here and try a pickled beet for me to see if I've got them right. Chrissy?
Constance: She's outside.
Mother: WHAT!!! WHAT THE HELL IS SHE DOING OUTSIDE?!
Constance: You told her to go wait for Grandma.
Mother: Oh for crying out loud! THEY'RE DRIVING IN FROM LIMA AND WON'T BE HERE FOR FOUR HOURS! IT'S TWENTY TWO DEGREES OUT THERE! GO GET YOUR LITTLE SISTER AND TELL HER TO GET IN HERE!!
Sadly, Constance is distracted by the latest Nancy Drew mystery that was in her Easter basket that morning. She heads into the den and buries her nose in the book...completely forgetting about her tiny little sister standing alone outside on the front porch.
Later that afternoon....
The front door opens and several voices are heard.
Grandma: Sig?! Are you home? What the hell is Chrissy doing standing out on the front porch?! We pulled up and she said that she had been out there all day waiting for us! Her little nose is running and she's frozen solid! What the heck are you people doing in here?
The relatives all kiss and hug hello in stony silence as the little girl heads upstairs for a hot bath. As she's hanging up her coat, she glances at the curls hidden in the wastebasket and decides that Christmas is definitely her favorite holiday.
P.S. Here's a few things you should know about Aunt Chrissy:
1. Yes, the hair story is completely true. When she was little she had positively gorgeous light brown curly ringlets that covered her head. I cut them off. (What can I say? I had a head like a bowling ball and was evil.)
2. My sister talked from the minute she woke up until the minute she passed out in her little bed. Some nights, she would tip-toe to the side of Mom and Dad's bed and poke Mom awake because she had more to say or had "forgetted to tell you something."
3. She was a very good little girl and usually did exactly what she was told, so the story above is as true and accurate as I can remember it. We believe that she had been out on that porch for at least three hours, because when Grandma and Uncle Connie finally got there they said she was really really shivering and her lips were a bit blue.
4. My sister isn't just in my life...she is my life. (Sorry, that's a line from Tony Soprano, but it's just too damn apropos not to use it here.) She is funny and kind and strong and very very brave. She takes care of me, tolerates my silly little dog, and feeds all of the birds, squirrels and ducks faithfully and with great care. She is the rock and the leader of our little family, and there are times when I really wonder what I did to be given such a gift of this particular sister. I love her, need her, and care about her more than anything or anyone I've ever known, and I cannot and will not live my life without her in it.
So there you have it. Aunt Chrissy turns 39 today and I couldn't be happier about it.