For the record, my handwriting is way better than hers. But that's about the only way I outshine Little Miss Perfect. She's left-handed and I love to tell people she writes with her left foot. Or so it appears. Just my lame attempt to keep some balance in our sisterly equation.
While I admit to being a little jealous through the years, the fact is I love my sister and can't imagine life without her. We hadn't lived in the same town since 1979 when we both lived briefly in Memphis, TN. Then in 1999, exactly 20 years later, my family and I moved here to the Nashville area. Since then, she's become not just my sister, but my dearest friend. On her 50th birthday I kidnapped her and took her to a bed & breakfast about an hour from here. I loved shocking her and we had such a blast. These days, we steal away for chats at Starbucks, sneak off to see a chick flick now & then, and talk every day by phone. We once went to an RV show and dreamed of someday traveling the country in a fancy 5th-wheeler, visiting all the presidential libraries. Who has time to get old when you've got plans like that with someone you love, amen?
It's always been one of my missions in life to make my sister laugh until she can't breathe. (In our family, she made the grades, I was the class clown.) I never give up, and I must say I'm pretty darn good at it! As a kid I was always throwing up which used to freak her out. To this day I can say the word "vomit" and she shudders and gets that gross taste in her mouth. Naturally, I find every opportunity I can to discuss the topic of regurgitation.
I was never more proud of her than in December of 2002 when I watched her receive her doctorate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. WOW! My sister, the doctor! She recently retired after 30 years at LifeWay Church Resources, the Southern Baptist publishing company headquartered here in Nashville. Not long after she started working at LifeWay (known back then as the Baptist Sunday School Board), she was asked to speak at the weekly chapel service. The young credit manager for the Sunday School Board was in the audience that day. Impressed by her message and charm, he quickly made an effort to meet her. His efforts paid off, and Morlee and Ken Maynard were married less than a year later. In 1986, they had a a beautiful baby boy, my handsome nephew Jonathan.
It's hard to put into words how much my sister means to me. I haven't come even close here. Mostly I just feel incredibly blessed to have this amazing and precious friend in my life who just happens to be my sister.
Happy Birthday, Sis! I love you!