Sunday, October 24, 2010

Number 3: A story about one of my many sisters.

***I am standing behind my parents, Stephanie is the sad one in the picture, and Courtney is in the stroller.***

A week ago Saturday my sister, Courtney, celebrated her 24th birthday. As I got off the phone with her I started reminiscing about all the torturous, yet completely hysterical, things I did to her growing up. Allow me to digress for a moment and explain my family dynamics for those that may be less than familiar with the Woodson family. I like to fantasize that we are the modern-day version of Little Women. Unfortunately, the similarities between our real-life family and the March family, from Louisa May Alcott's novel, are few and far between. But, we did love watching the movie growing up, relating their sisterly quarrels to our own, and calling our own Mom, Marmee for the proceeding week after. In comparing our family to the characters of Little Women, I am Meg, the oldest, most boring sister. Stephanie is our Jo, the entertaining, outspoken sister. Courtney has Amy-like tendencies, being reserved, yet can hold her own if necessary. And, Kaitlyn is our Beth the kind, shy sister. Alright, now that you have the Woodson family dynamics down, let me share with you some of my favorite memories harassing our "Amy" growing up.

Courtney and I are almost six years apart. So about the time Courtney was four years old I was the ripe, annoying age of nine or ten. It was during this time that most of my sisterly bullying took place. From about three to who-knows how old, Courtney had this pillow that today resembles something very similar to Sponge Bob. It was square, yellow, and had appendages coming out of it's cartoon body (very disturbing if you ask me). However, Courtney was obsessed with this pillow and she lovingly named him "Happy." When Courtney went to bed, Happy was there with her. If we went on a family trip, Happy went too. If we were watching cartoons, there was Happy sitting and enjoying Saturday morning cartoons with the family. I realized very quickly that not being in the presence of Happy, because he had been forgotten in the haste of getting out the door, caused her great anguish and emotional affliction. These were the moments my ten year old pea brain looked forward to capitalizing on!

I recall one time in particular we were in North Carolina visiting our Great-Grandmother and Courtney was busily playing with something else and had momentarily set Happy aside. I quietly snatched Happy and hid him in a secret location. Then I came back to Courtney in her cheerful moment playing and announced, in my most somber of voices, "Courtney, I have some very sad news. Happy is dead. Mom and Dad didn't want to tell you but I knew you would be wondering where he is, so I thought I should tell you, we buried him under the crab apple tree in the backyard." I could barely contain a straight-face delivering the sad, sad news. Immediately, Courtney dashed out the door, ran to the crab apple tree, dropped to her knees and began to wail, "Happpppeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! Happpppeeeeeeeeeee!!! " Within moments my Mom arrived on the scene, my cover was busted and I had to retrieve Happy from his secret hiding location. I am sure some sort of punishment ensued afterwards, but it was worth every moment.

Another one of my favorite Corkie memories involves a family trip we took in our early 90s Ford Escort Station Wagon. Which looked very similar to this vehicle pictured below. This car was also the car my sisters and I learned to drive a stick shift with. I swear if you were to visit my parents house on Gillings you would still see the skid marks from Courtney left by this car. She was "special" in learning a standard. :)

That particular family trip, I will lovingly dub the "American History Tour," I can't remember how old we were when we packed up and trekked half-way across the country in our Ford Wagon. As a kid, I felt like we visited just about every battle site from the Civil War and every national monument possible. From the Vicksburg National Park to Washington D.C. and rounding out our "American History Tour" in Philadelphia with the liberty bell. It was at the liberty bell tour that one of my favorite big sister memories took place.

I had a few bucks in my pocket, and I am sure just like I feel now with money, it was burning a hole in my pocket. So, at the visitor gift shop I purchase a replica of the Declaration of Independence for one dollar. It was a steal! With it's think parchment paper and coffee stain coloration it looked like the real deal! As we loaded in our car, and were concluding up our American history lesson for the day, I marveled at my new purchased and carefully examined it in the car. I am sure Courtney asked me at some point what I had in my hand, being the brat that I was, I decided to have a little fun with the Declaration of Independence. 

"Courtney, Mom and Dad don't want you to know, but these are your adoption papers." It was the perfect set up, how could she deny the Declaration of Independence with it's fancy, formal cursive, thick paper, and it's numerous signatures at the bottom?  But, more importantly she couldn't read yet, so my fabrication was solid. "See here, this is where everyone signed to have you adopted," as I pointed to names like Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock. She totally bought the lie and started crying, I figured maybe she would be glad that she wasn't related to me, and had another fun, exciting family out there looking for her, apparently not. :)

It was after Easter probably in the early 90s (again), and among the many Easter candies I hate, such as Peeps, I despise black jelly beans. Much to my chagrin they always made it into my Easter basket each year. This particular incident, I was enjoying my jelly beans and carefully sifting the black jelly beans to the side and watching TV. Courtney laid on the couch completely passed out with her mouth agape and a thin stream of drool trickling down her cheek. All of a sudden, I had the brilliant idea to gingerly place a few of my discarded black jelly beans in her mouth to see if she would wake up. She kept snoozing completely oblivious to the nasty licorice I had just placed in her mouth. Thirty minutes later she now had black drool on her face. Ha!  

I know I must sound like the meanest sister ever, but I hope Courtney has forgiven my immaturity back when we were younger. :) On a serious note, I am extremely proud of the woman she has become, as I am of all my sisters (and I will post my favorite memories of the other two near their birthdays). Here are a few of the things I love about Courtney:

1. She is fluent in sign language and will sign to me (if I ask) while we talk. Always makes me smile.
2. She loves nursing and did outstanding in nursing school.
3. She is my little "Narkie," (our nickname we gave her for her love of sleeping after narcolepsy) she could out sleep anyone. One time we were discussing the longest we had ever slept; I thought I had her beat with 14 hours and she well surpassed my record. 
4. She can always make me laugh. The sentence generally starts off with, "Oh my."
5. My students at school every year ask if she is my twin (I have a picture of me and my sisters on my desk).
6. She loves an old school rap tune just as much as I do.
7. She was an amazing cheerleader back in her day. She would stomp around the house non-stop practicing her routine (sometimes drove us crazy). ;)
8. She is a gifted artist and drew some really cool stuff in high school.
9. I had so much fun jumping on our trampoline and double-bouncing each other growing up.
10. I can remember the day she was born and proudly announcing to my kindergarten class that I was a big sister again. :)

Happy Birthday Courtney!! I thought about keeping your gift in Dallas so you would have to come visit me to get it, but I decided to go ahead and put your Furr's cafeteria gift card in the mail; you should be getting it soon. Enjoy!


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