Friday, September 23, 2005

Doris, me and Elvis

I'm missing my sister Doris today. I miss her everyday. She would have been 70 years old this particular day, but she died almost two years ago.

She was six years older than I. We had a sister Mary who was four years older than Doris, and of course Bonnie who was four years younger than Doris, but Doris and I were the buddies. We were just always close, even though we each had another sister who was closer in age to us.

Doris joined the army when she was 17, straight out of high school. She was sent to Germany for three years. I wrote to her every single day. I didn't have anything to say of course, but like now, that didn't stop me.

I'd open up the dictionary and find big words and work them into the "conversation." Like just now I opened up the dictionary and saw polemical. If I were writing to Doris, I might have written, "At school today Karen made a polemical attack on what the math teacher was saying about fractions." (Actually right this minute I'm being really impressed by the fact that my spell-check recognizes polemical.)

I'd do stuff like that everyday. She told me years later that her barracks mates would gather around with their dictionaries and all read my letters together. They would say things like, "Your little sister is so smart!" She laughed when I told her the truth. Smartass is more like it.

While she was in Heidelberg, Elvis Presley came on the scene nationally. She wrote me and asked, "Who is this Elvis Presley guy?"

We grew up in Memphis and I had seen him several times at this point. He performed at my school on what we called Chapel Programs. Couldn't get away with "chapel" in a public school nowadays.

Anyway, Elvis had made a little money by this time, and had bought his Mama a new house. No, not Graceland. Before Graceland he bought a modest house in East Memphis which wasn't all that far from my neck of the woods. He didn't yet know that he was going to be too rich for that area. He never was all that smart. Ya know?

So after a ballgame one night, a bunch of my gang and I decided to go over and get grass out of Elvis' yard and send it to Doris. The fence around the yard was a decorative one. I coulda gone right into the yard, but I didn't. Respectful. Like that.

The fence was iron and brick and had these openings in it, and I reached in through one of the openings and grabbed a handful of grass. Stuck. Couldn't get my arm back through. It's cold and I'm all bent over and all, stuck in this darn fence. There's a lot of traffic up and down the street. It's not normally a busy street, but kids from the game are comin' over and being nosey and noisy.

There I am stuck. Butt a little in the air. I'm causin' a bit of a scene. Teenagers.

Policeman gets through the traffic. Stops. Comes over to me. Looks at me, kinda sad like.

"Little girl," he says, "Did you ever think to take your arm outta your coat sleeve?"

Well, no officer, I never thought of that. 'Course I didn't say anything at all. Just pulled my arm out of my coat. Sad to say, that also meant that I had to open my fist and drop the grass. Darnitall.

So, Doris never got the grass. She did get the full account of it in a letter however.


OldHorsetailSnake said...

Hey everybody! Get your ass over here and watch Lucy poach grass!!


natasha said...

Reminds me of a story I read in a book (where the Red Fern Grows) about how to catch racoons. You drill a big ol' hole in a log and put a bit of something shiney at the bottom. You then drive nails in at a particular angle so that the coon can reach in to grab the shiney metal bit, but can't get his whole fist out. Apparently the racoon won't drop the shiney object and thus, dies from the elements/starvation/the hunter because he is stuck.

dddragon said...

I LOVE that story, every time you tell it. I'm missing Doris, too. She was wonderful.

AP3 said...

I forgot it would be Doris' 70th! Wow.

That's a great story... I don't think I ever heard the full details before. Pretty funny!

kenju said...

Sooo funny.......DUH!

I did almost the same thing when I was about 6 or 7. I put my head between the railings on a bridge and couldn't get my head out. I didn't realize it had been twisted sideways when I put it through and all I had to do to get out was turn my head sideways again. Didn't happen - until the firemen were called and they worked me through it. I felt so stupid!

actonbell said...

Great story for Doris's bday anniversary:) Miss her, too.

Libby said...

great story, TLP! at least doris knew you tried to get 'grass' to send to her!! and it's the thought that counts, right?
BoUnCeS!! LibbY!

Doug said...

I'm glad to share the story Doris got in Germany. You tell them so well. So, if Doris would 70 and she's six years older than...oh I can't figure it out.

still life said...

Well it's official, I guess that you can be a goof.
It's a wonderful story about your sister. I'm sure that she treasured those letters. I however do not treasure the fact that I had to go to my in order to look up the word polemical, but I too am impressed because my word verification voice program knew what it was.
Hmpf, smarter than me.

mireille said...

zockso to you! and Doris' memory ... (polemical, huh? showoff

Busy Mom said...

Wow, I'm missing Doris, now and I didn't know her. What a wonderful story!

nongirlfriend said...

Great tribute!

Fred said...

I'm surprised you didn't take a fistful from another yard and send it as "the dirt next to Elvis Presly's house."

Happy Birthday, Doris.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Hoss 1, Tan Lucy 0. So what's new?

Nat: So, I'm about as clever as a coon? I always thought so too.

DDD & AP3 Acton Bell: I think you're trying to tell me that I've told this one enough!

Kenju: Well, you were only 6 or 7. I was a good bit older.

Libby: Yes Doris did appreciate the story at the time.

Doug: You youngster, I'm almost 64, and proud not to be dead!

Still Life: Happy to have broadened your vocabulary!

Mireille: You know it! Gotta try to keep up with law students.

Busy Mom: Thanks for coming by.

Fred: I was too intimidated by the cop, or I would have just gone into Elvis' Mom's yard to get the damn grass. Elvis never lived in that house. In fact, he probably never even walked into it. He quickly rose to fame after that, bought the big house that was Graceland, and the entire family moved there.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

OOps! Nongirlfriend! Missed you somehow. Thanks!

Minka said...

Wow, Elvis Presley!
Such a huge name and people tell mw he is still sround. Especially my aunt...she never really let it go!
So, grass has been around for a long time...I mean at least as long as you ?! ;)

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Elvis, huh? My birhtday mate.

WIshing Doris a happy birthday, even though she is unable to celebrate it with you in body, she seems to have a beautiful place inside of your mind.

Have a good day, Tan Lucy.

Jamie Dawn said...

I'm sure you miss her terribly. Remembering stories like these must make you smile... and miss her even more.
Wow! Elvis' grass!

Sum kinda princess said...

My mother in law dated Elvis for a few months. And, her husbands brother played in his band. Played the drums for quite some time. That's my only claim to fame. Not so impressive, but had to share.

Monique said...

I immediately thought about that story from Where the Red Fern Grows too.

Saur♥Kraut said...

You do tell the BEST stories! And I always think MINE are so great!!! It's really wonderful to check in and read your experiences. Thanks so much for sharing them.

Hale McKay said...

Well you could say you did some landscaping work for Elvis' mom.

GodlessMom said...

How funny! I'm sorry you lost your grass!

Anonymous said...

nice blog enjoyed it :)

Keep up the excellent work! and i bookmarked u!

so cant wait for ur next post! :)