Today is the birthday of my nephew, Handsome Boy. I called him this morning to wish him "happy birthday," and he sounded good. Said he had already bought some new tennis shoes with the money I sent. It was so good to hear his voice.
It's been over 15 years since my sister, Beautiful Blue Eyes Laughing, moved to South Carolina-- along with my brother-in-law Booming Bass, my niece, Blonde Beauty (who was 10 when they moved, I think), and Handsome Boy (who at that time was only 7 years old). Plus my mother--she moved with them as well. Beautiful Blue Eyes Laughing made sure that our mother always had a couple of rooms in their home that she could call her own, and that she felt welcomed and at home there. And I think it was good that Blonde Beauty and Handsome Boy got to know "Gran" the way they did during the years that she was with them.
Beautiful Blue Eyes Laughing has always been like that. Growing up, she was the one who tried to keep the peace in the family, while my mother and I argued and were often angry at each other. She's very thoughtful, very open and welcoming. When I visit (it's been too long), she never fails to throw open her home, and with contagious good cheer helps me feel like I belong.
My sister loves to laugh. It's part of the joy of being around her. She can see what's funny way before I notice anything, and I'm often left trying to catch up. She's just lively and people enjoy being around her--kind of the life of the party type of person, something I always envied. When I worked for Big Oil many years ago, she and I went to Europe together. We flew into Munich, stayed a while in Germany, then Austria where we took a roller-coaster-like ride in the real saltmines of Saltzberg. We rode the Orient Express overnight to Paris. I have the cutest picture of Beautiful Blue Eyes Laughing, literally kicking up her heels outside our hotel in Paris, just having FUN. Makes me smile just thinking about it.
One of the best things about Beautiful Blue Eyes Laughing is the way that she's naturally giving. I mean, giving in the sense of being non-competitive. She's always been so quick to compliment other people, in fun-loving and important ways. It's delightful to be around, believe me. When we were growing up my parents often compared us. We both heard the downside to those comparisons, but I didn't handle it as well as Beautiful Blue Eyes Laughing...her heart was always bigger than mine, I think.
She's worked herself up in her company. I think she started out as an accountant and is now the controller, running that whole division. The company's owners are in Europe, so they send my sister to New York City for them--she has some great stories about that! I know she's an excellent manager and has accomplished so much for that company.
When we were growing up, Beautiful Blue Eyes Laughing and I would go to Six Flags every summer. HUGE deal. Six Flags! We'd look forward to that day all year. She'd get sick after riding the Mexican Hat Ride, but what a trooper--somehow, it never ruined the day.
There's only 13 months difference between me and my sister. I wish she and her family lived closer. I miss seeing her.