Fingerless glove

looking for what's missing... I'm a knitting, spinning, mother of teenagers with a big dog, a small cat, minus the lovely rabbit Meliflua.

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Location: Virginia, United States

Right now I'm listening to "An Irish Country Village" by Patrick Taylor, reading "Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake" by Anna Quindlen and knitting Wisconsin Wintersocks. And casting off the lace shawl I've been working on since I last posted.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Happy Birthday, Jean

Today is a pretty auspicious day. It's the 41st anniversary of Lyndon Johnson's signing of the voting rights act. It is the birthday of Alfred Tennyson, the first Englishman to be given a title based solely on literary achievement. It is the birthday of the man who discovered penicillin (and said "A good gulp of hot whiskey at bedtime -- it's not very scientific but it helps) and of the man who made famous Pop Art out of ubiquitous soup cans. It is the sad anniversary of the first time a nuclear weapon was used in a war.

But as far as I'm concerned the event of the day is my sister's birthday, and all those other things are the footnotes.

I've been hunting around for photos and found I don't have many. I seem to carry most of the images of Jean in my head: stretched out on her bed, reading on a summer afternoon. (If I promised not to be too bratty, I got to read her books when she was through which is where I first encountered the Ray Bradbury that my daughter now finds "irrelevant." ) Or with single eyebrow raised and skeptical expression aimed at Peter and Chip (or is it Taffy?) Or her brilliant smile standing next to Doug on his wedding day.

I know there must be more photos SOMEWHERE, but this one is the one I wanted most. It's not a particularly good photograph, but it tells a story that I treasure. Baby Cass had been fussy all day and had been passed from her mother to Grandma and then to Jean, when this photo was taken. A minute later Cass calmed down and was as sweet & content as she could be.


Grandma said, "Babies like Jean."
Maybe they like her because even when they have a diaper leak of legendary proportions on a crowded airplane, she calmly rinses out her dress and carries on. No fuss, no drama. She just does what needs to be done. She is patient. She has a wicked wit, but not a wicked tongue. She lives in a house with a fabulous view and does a job that needs doing, she appreciates music and art, all without the least bit of pretentiousness. She raised wonderful children including the champion thank-you-note-writer of our entire extended family. (A title to make any mother proud.) She laughs at Great Housewives of Art because she gets the joke. She might not know it, but she is my example for serenity. She's the best big sister I could hope for and I will always love her.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Jan said...

Sunday was my baby sister's birthday, too! Josephine Anne, now called Joy, the only natural redhead in the family (after her Grandma Josephine, Dad's mother), the youngest girl, but not the baby of the family. A genius, a former Army Ranger, currently teaching school in Tacoma, WA.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Jan said...

I forgot to mention at the meeting yesterday that August 6th is also Shirley Zorger's birthday -- Shirley who was sitting right next to me!

I did remember to give her the card I had for her, though.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous jean said...

Thanks, Gail. I'm very touched.

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

I like rediscovering my family all over again every so often. Jean has always been the big sister -- the one who did cool things like go all the way to Green Bay for college. She's also the one who danced on the north end of the house, and it really makes me smile to remember that. I love you Jean!

11:54 PM  

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