Thursday, June 05, 2008

Mary was my older sister. A full three years older. And probably the reason why she was always zealously protective. I have more than one memory of Mary beating up neighborhood bullies, usually older-than-myself kids, and generally other boys more her own age, who thought I would be easy pickings. They thought wrong.
Mary wasn't their match in size, and was generally smaller than most girls her age, but she made up for it in viciousness.
Like a mother bear, she'd launch an attack. All claws:ripping, pulling, kicking, scratching... she spilled more blood in her youth than the average young male, and rendered the boys into crying blobs of sissyness: torn clothes, busted lips, bloody noses. Mary was generally a good natured, party attitude type of girl, except for when it came to defending her little brothers.

This protectiveness continued on into high school, but to lesser extent. The last scuffle I had where she was involved started with a shoving match prelude in the hall. Beginning of my freshman year, she was already a senior. She walked up and asked "you got it,bro?"
Yeah, I got it, getouttahere.
Then the other kid took the first swing and the fight was on. I swung back, got lucky, and soon the kid ended up on his ass in the middle of the hallway.
Not satisfied, Mary walked up and started kicking him, pulled him up, called him a few names and shoved him back at me to knock him down again.
Her friends were screaming.
My friends were cheering.
He was bleeding from the nose and mouth.
Mary and I got three days suspension.
Sitting together in the dean's office, she kept saying she was proud of me. I told her next time to stay out of it.
Thanks, Mary. (Well, it was fun.)

I got lucky again when she got a job with a local liquor store chain. All the whiskey,beer and booze I wanted. Not a bad deal for a 15yr old.
Thanks again, Mary.

New Year's, 1982, Mary and I found ourselves at the same big,crazy party. It was pouring down rain that night. A real heavy, street flooding downpour. I was about twenty-four beers too many, laying face up in the grass, soaked to the bone,unable to move, and too unwilling to be dragged to drier ground. I woke up some hours later with a patio table draped in platic sheeting over me (to keep me from drowning,she said). We were still laughing about that one.
Thanks again, Mary.

For dating tips, and how to read a girl's 'signs'.
Thanks, Mary.

Some years ago, Mary bought a Tommy Gun. Now, it's mine.
Thanks, Mary.

When I got married and Mary accepted to be a bridesmaid, the dress was one of those frilly,pink,off-the-shoulders numbers. She hated pink. She hated dresses. Flat out refused to wear them. But there she was. In this pink,frilly girlie-girl dress... and an expression of internal terror. Afraid with every move she made that this fabric may actually come into contact with her skin. She was hilariously miserable. I loved every minute of it.
Thanks for the laughs,Mary. And for loving me enough to even 'go there'.

Mary was born June 5th, 1961.
47 yrs ago today.

Forty-seven years ago on this date, God gave me a unique and precious gift. To mourn it's loss is a diservice to Him if I don't take the time appreciate that which was given.
As we only know sadness because we once knew joy,
I only feel loss because I had something to lose.
Today, I made a concious decision to celebrate her life. To think about the good times. The happy times. The fun times. And the love. Too many tears I've already shed have dimmed the memory of why I cry.

Today is different.
Today is Mary's day.

Happy Birthday,Mary.
And thanks for everything.

I love you,
Gino

8 comments:

tully said...

As a jaded youth who considers emotions to fall short of Platonic Forms, I sometimes think I've forgotten how to feel anything real. I've never cried at a funeral, and what's more I usually feel nothing comparable to those around me for the deceased.

I actually felt something from this post. So, thanks Gino. And Mary. It takes a real sort of love to remind us why life can seem so awful, and why it's so worth living. To be honest, though, that good kind of living has little to do with one's vital signs. It's about having, among other things, a brother like you- and that hasn't changed, Gino.

You know you won't be alone when you're shooting that Tommy Gun.

*~*Cece*~* said...

Gino, this is such a beautiful post. I laughed right along with you. What a wonderful way to remember her.

Guitarman said...

Very nice tribute. I'm with you. It's time to start celebrating life instead of living in fear and asking what if! Thank you;

Mark Heuring said...

Outstanding post, Gino. And celebrating life is the right way to go.

Kristopher said...

You're a great man, Gino. Mary is a great sister. I bet you she'll continue to protect you up in Heaven as well.

Thanks, Gino, for sharing yourself with us. We are blessed.

kr said...

Happy Your Sister's Birthday, Gino :).

Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

Gino,

I have been following your posts about your sister, and my words always failed me.

All I can say now is, thank you for introducing her to me. I love her for helping you become the amazing person that you are today.

As an atheist, it might be weird for me to say this, but I know it will mean something to you:

G-d bless you my friend. Thank you.

Jade said...

It's a wonderful way to remember your sister. :)
(((Gino)))