Sisters are God’s gift to womankind. I’m not talking about the usual feminist blather about Sisterhood Being Powerful, I’m talking about real, flesh-and-blood sisters. Every little girl wants one. Most are lucky enough to get one to grow up with, and the bonds are unbreakable. I’m willing to allow that there are sisters who don’t get along, but I devoutly hope they are few and far between. Because — I don’t know what I would do without my sister.
She came along when I was fifteen, and by then my mother had had four boys and I had absolutely given up on the prospect of having a sister. From the day she came home, she wound her way into our hearts. My sister is the person who made us a family; she keeps in touch not only with all my brothers, and is the only member of the family whom all of us are speaking to at any given time, but she also stays in touch with all the aunts, uncles, and cousins. In a combined Irish and Polish family, this is a formidable task, but she does it and she thrives on it.
After yesterday’s utter shocker, I called my sister, who is a town clerk in a small New Hampshire town, and told her the news. She wasn’t at her desk, or maybe she was on the phone, so I had to leave a message. Today I drove up to pay her a visit at her office. She rushed through her customer — I think it was a dog license — came out of the office, gave me a big hug, and said, “I couldn’t believe that phone call.” She told me that when she heard my message, she exclaimed, “Oh, my God, I don’t believe it!!” and her deputy said, “What??” and my sister said, “C’mere, you gotta hear this,” and played my message back. The deputy, whom I also know, was also shocked beyond words.
“I got three hours’ sleep last night,” I told my sister.
“You look it,” she shot back. “I’m sorry, but you look like hell. You look like you got hit by a truck.”
“I did,” I said. This is one of the chief things I adore about my sister: In a world where everybody tiptoes around you, never tells you anything to your face, and then knifes you in the back (sorry for the generalization, but in my experience, Greeks are past masters at this stunt), I can absolutely count on my sister to tell it like it is. I needed to hear that I looked like a train wreck.
Friends are also wonderful to have. In addition to all the comments on my last post, for which I thank people devoutly — I’m still in shock myself — I visited, this morning, a friend who is actually on this infamous parish council, and she said the notion of my being considered for the job never even came up. One person said, of the other candidate, “Is she a secretary?” but that comment was ignored, in the general rush to make sure a Greek sat in that front office. This gentle soul kept saying, “I wish I could do something for you,” and I couldn’t tell her how much she had already done. (She also dropped into the office yesterday, and told me that Father was “very worried” about me. He’s so worried that he hasn’t called all day.)
So I’m profoundly grateful for my friends. But my sister is the only person I know who can say with utter conviction, “You better not agree to help out your replacement [which was suggested to me yesterday], or I will hurt you.” “Mighty Mite,” my mother used to call her, because it took her until she was ten years old to reach 50 lbs. — that girl absolutely could not put on weight — but boy, she packed a punch when she was roused. Obviously — she still does.
I love you, Annie!