Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Yes, I have a sister...

Not many people know this, but I do have a sister, and her name is Jeanie Ortis.

No, she's not really my sister by blood but I can't imagine being actually related would make it a whole lot different.  To give you an idea how long Jeanie has been a part of my life... well, truth be told I can't remember a time where Jeanie wasn't around.  She simply has always just "been". In other words I've known Jeanie forever!

 If you can think of all the things kids do growing up, Jeanie and I did them. Selling lemonade by the side of the road for 10 cents a glass?  Did it. Building snow forts?  Did it.  Playing for hours outside 'til our folks called us in for the night? Did it. Putting on puppet shows for grown ups pretending to be entertained?  Did it. Mixing dirt and water in a "Freezie wrapper" and selling it to a kid as a chocolate flavoured Popsicle?  Sadly, we did that too.

If my Parents went out of town without me I would stay over at the Ortis house. It was always exciting for me as I got to eat Mrs. Ortis' great food, learn how to play Pool from Mr. Ortis, and most exciting of all I got to hang out with Jeanie and her older sister Cindy. I really felt I was with my "other" family during those times. There was plenty of fun, laughs and Punchanella Ice Cream at the Ortis household.  What is Punchanella Ice Cream I hear you ask?  I don't really have a good story here... I simply called Neapolitan Ice Cream "Punchanella" one day, and it stuck.  And yes, to this day even Jeanie calls it Punchanella Ice Cream.

I wish I could say it was always fun and laughs when I stayed at the Ortis household but there was one horrific incident I would be remiss not to bring up.  One night after supper Jeanie, myself and Cindy were sitting around the dinner table chatting (Where Mr. and Mrs. Ortis were escapes my memory) everything was fine until Cindy inexplicably grabbed the biggest, greenest, most horrible looking pea I had ever seen and shoved it up her nose!!!!  Yes, as god as my witness, she shoved the ENTIRE pea UP HER NOSE!!!!  It was a sickly green globe pulsating in her nostril and seemed to make Cindy turn into some sort of possessed monster that proceeded to chase us around the dinner table!!!!  We ran in horror as all sense of reason seemed to leave Cindy!  And let me be clear here... she chased us WITH A PEA UP HER NOSE!!!! It seemed to last forever but eventually she stopped chasing us.  It took many years of therapy and counseling for Jeanie and I, but we have since been able to enjoy dinner with each other once again without fear of being chased by Cindy with a pea up her nose.  For the record, Cindy will deny this story... but it happened.  I was there.

Fast forward many years, Jeanie and I are MUCH older, and she is getting married this week to a New Zealander named Eddie Pye. Eddie is a modern day renaissance man. He is an artist, a teacher, and a philosopher. Eddie writes long thought provoking pieces on the existence of the soul... whereas I call Neapolitan Ice Cream "Punchanella".  Normally when a fiance is brought into a tight circle of family and friends it can be a little awkward for everyone as you feel them out and see what they are like.  I can safely say Eddie was a member of the family pretty much 5 minutes after everyone met him. So not only has Eddie got the wonderful Ortis family as part of his life, he now has a taller brother with the last name Anderson too (Whether he likes it or not). He's a wonderful guy... I would do anything for him. I couldn't be happier that they have both found each other and that I get to create new memories with the both of them.

And speaking of memories... since Jeanie is getting married I've been trying the last couple of days to express the proper feeling these memories of Jeanie seem to bring out in me. Is it nostalgia, longing for the past, or are they just amusing? I tried to organize them in my head and thought about the little "in jokes" we had together like...

"Ummmmmm I'm telling" (said when we saw the older kids doing something bad)


"Let's play Fambily" (Yes that's FamBily with a B and a regular request from either Jeanie or myself when we played as kids)

 I also thought about all of our Anderson/Ortis family trips to Spokane Washington when we stayed at the "Trade Winds" and how much I still cherish those trips.  I thought about Jeanie wearing her Holly Hobby outfit on her first day to school, and about the scary day Jeanie fell down the hill by my Grandma's house on her bike. I remember Jeanie being at the hospital lending her support when my Dad fell seriously ill in 2004 and how much strength she gave me in those unpleasant times. When I think of Jeanie I always remember her dog Patches, and the house they used to have across the street from ours, and then those thoughts eventually drift to her wonderful Grandparents the Bruce's. The memories really trail on for quite some time and I can't possibly mention them all but mainly I remember Jeanie making me laugh, and how she was always willing to listen to me. When I think of all these things it's kind of like a mural of memories painted on a wall and when I look at it I realize it made me feel one simple thing ... love.

I love my sister Jeanie Ortis.

That's what it all boils down to, and I can't wait to add more memories as Jeanie and Eddie start their life together...  all that said, I could do without someone ever chasing me with a pea up their nose again.


Michael Michalski said...

We. Love. Blog!

Anonymous said...

Dear Gregg, if you're ever in my city I'd like to invite you for dinner. We're having peas, and uh....some other stuff. heh heh heh. But seriously, what a beautiful tribute to your friend. Nicely done!