Sometimes, I like to write a note to honor a very special lady in my life. So, to change things up, this one’s about my sister.
You see, that’s funny, because now my sister thinks she isn’t special. So, for the sake of continual comedy, we’ll assume that’s true.
I clearly remember being 4 1/2 years old, living in Houston, Texas on February 23, 1977. Ok, that’s a lie, I can not remember it. However, somewhere in my head, I have a memory of being taken to a hospital to see what mom and dad had decided to bring home. It was a 7 lb 7 oz bundle of blonde hair and blue eyes. My brand new baby sister Shelly Denise.
I didn’t really recognize this moment, at the time, for what it would turn out to be. A quest to keep this little darling alive.
It started early, she was less than a month old, when she decided to stop breathing. I don’t remember this, perhaps I blocked it out, but apparently, my mom checked on her in her crib, and she was blue. After that, doors were kicked in, neighbors were alerted, and off to the hospital in a flash. Where, obviously, and thankfully, she was resurrected.
After that, this little girl had a new found determination. I may be off on this, but I’m pretty sure she learned to walk by 5 months old. Ok, maybe I’m way off, but not much.
One day, when she wasn’t even able to walk yet, she managed to crawl her way, not just out of the crib, not just out of her room, not just out of the house, but on to……the roof. Yes, that’s right, she can’t walk yet, but she can climb the lattice in the back yard, up on to the roof. From that point on, I knew my mission, keep this girl alive.
A lot of tactics went into this, and not just by me. One tactic, to keep her in her bed, my dad used one of his neckties to tie her arm to the crib. That way, you know, she couldn’t crawl out in the middle of the night and play Barnum and Bailey in the neighborhood.
I can remember one night, I don’t remember how old we were, but I’m thinking I was about 8 or 9, which means she was about 4 or 5. Well, we were living in Tulsa, and shopping at high class places like Oertles and Anthony’s. We were leaving one of those places, after undoubtedly placing something very necessary on layaway, and we left the store to get back in the car. Well, you see, Shelly wasn’t ready to get back in the car, or at least, stay in the car. She knew the car was moving, she knew we were driving through the parking lot, but she didn’t care. She was opening that door, and exiting, PRONTO! In my memory, it plays out like that scene in Transformers 2 where that kid from Even Stevens is falling out of the car thats being dangled in the air by a Decepticon, but the girl with the big…..lips reaches out and grabs him by the arm and keeps him from falling. Lots of screaming, as her very life hangs in the balance, while my 59 lb frame holds on to her to keep her from falling out on to the pavement at 13 mph. Dad stopped the car, she was pulled in, and I’m sure she got the snot beat out of her when we got home, deservedly so. I remember being so proud. I really thought we should have written in to the TV show “That’s Incredible” so Fran Tarkenton and Cathy Lee Crosby could interview me and show one of those re-enactments. The girl from Poltergeist would play Shelly, and I would be played by Erik Estrada.
Then there was the time in 1983, when I came out of the house, just in time to intercept Shelly as she was headed over to this van that had stopped in front of our house. It seems the people in this van had a puppy they wanted to show her, but they wanted her to come to the van for a closer look. Having paid perfect attention to Operation Aware at Briarglen Elementary, I smelled a rat, not a puppy. I yelled for her to come back up to the house, and the van drove away.
No sign of Tarkenton or Crosby after that incident either.
Over the next 29 years, I’m sure I’ve saved her life, either figuratively or literally, at least 3 dozen times. Most of which, came from breaking up fights between her and Dustin.
We’re all grown up now, and we don’t get to save each other from falling out of moving vehicles all that much anymore, but I will say this; As much crap as Dustin and I have given you over the years, you know it’s out of love. We’re Bo and Luke, and you’re Daisy. We had the Big Wheels to prove it.
I just wanted to give you a proper Happy Birthday and let you know you’re special, and I’m proud of you. Life’s not easy for a single mom of 3 kids. And I still want you to know, I think you can do anything you put your mind to, if you stick to it.
I love you Shell, now get in the frickin car!