Friday, July 06, 2012

Happy Birthday, Donna!!!!!!!!!!

Back in the early days of this blog, I wrote about how mundane tasks like rinsing dishes can wash you away in a sea of nostalgia, leaving you teary-eyed and even more in love with the people you thought you already loved more than life.  If you care to, you can read that post here.

I intended to use this blog as a place to share memories, and at one point I had the idea – and it is my intent still, should I ever get over this 3 ½ year case of writer’s block – to tie my love of music into this theme, posting memories that are, however inexplicably, intertwined with a specific song, like the time my friend Juan Villegas bought me a lime popsicle from the ice cream truck while Sister Christian played on WLS.  I don’t even like popsicles (particularly lime!), but now any time I hear mention of Night Ranger, I yearn for one of those horrific neon green frosty treats on a stick.  I’m sure the boys in the band would be thrilled at the association.

But I digress, or regress, as I am wont to do…

Tonight, I am parked in front of my computer, determined to shake off this writer’s block, and determined to resurrect my original intentions for this blog, hopefully to carry them into the future until I have accumulated a happy collection of memories that tell my story, or at least as much of it as I am willing to acknowledge…public therapy, in other words.

The reason for this newfound motivation is that a special occasion is coming up this Saturday:  My sister Donna, the subject of the above-mentioned post, is turning 50, and I was invited to share some memories.  And I will get right to it as soon as I get my mind around the idea of Donna being can this be???  If my mom is reading this, I apologize for the exclamations of disbelief that just passed through my head.



Scratch my head...

Ahh, okay…I think I’ve wrapped my mind around the concept.  Before I go off on another tangent, here are the first five memories that came to mind when I thought of Donna:

1)      Donna will know….

just don't Google "purple cow underwear" me on that.

2)      The highlight of my athletic career – I scored ten points and garnered lots of “attaboys” from coaches and teammates in a freshman basketball game against Riverside-Brookfield High School.  Donna was there to share this momentous achievement, and if that were the only game she ever attended, she might have gotten the impression I actually knew what I was doing on the basketball court.  After the game, Donna treated me to hot dogs at Mr. Pup on Lee Street.  Being a 15 year old boy, I, of course, didn’t consider showering in the locker room so I’m sure that lunch was a true delight for Donna.

    3)      There was a gas station, cement block walls painted white, next door to Pintsch’s True Value in Townsend, Wisconsin, where all they sold, it seemed, was air mattresses and minnows.  I would have staked my life on the fact that the word “cowabunga” was invented by, and belonged to, me and Donna, and to us alone.  I don’t know why or how I attached that word so personally to me and Donna, but I did, so it was devastating (remember, I was about six years old) when I saw an air mattress for sale at that gas station picturing Snoopy on a surf board shouting OUR word.  I might be the only child to have been betrayed by America’s favorite cartoon beagle.  And, years later, to see Bart Simpson flinging cowabungas about as if they were road apples….simply heartbreaking.

4)      This is a current memory:  Donna’s hand-written notes I receive in the mail every month or two are one of the only things that ever cause me to think about moving back to Illinois.  They mean so much, and one of these days I’ll reciprocate.  I promise!

5)      The best of my childhood memories is of Thursday nights when somehow Donna and I wound up being the only two at home.  It might have been one school year, it might have been only a few months, but my memory tries to convince me it was several years.  Unless the Cubs were playing, we would watch Magnum, PI, then Simon & Simon, after doing the dishes of course.  I have remembered those Thursday nights for 30 years, and they are some of my happiest memories.

Okay, well that was five memories, and I didn’t even get to the time Donna treated me to my first ever bowling experience (I freaked out over having to wear previously worn shoes - oh, the horror! - and tried embedding myself into the brick wall, crying my eyes out), Jody Davis, games of hearts, or “RN stands for Real Nice” and so much more.

And it pains me to cut this off here, before I’ve had a chance to edit and perfect every single word, but it’s after 2AM and I have to work in a few hours, so I will finish by saying happy birthday, Donna!  Thank you for being a perfect sister; as much as I loved you on those Thursday nights, I love you even more now.

Oh, and I did mention tying my memories to specific songs.  I plan to provide more explanation in future posts, but this time I don’t want to ruin the surprise.  So, Donna, here’s the song that makes me think of you: Enjoy!