My good friend, Mary, was wondering if I was feeling okay. And I am. I feel great. I'm a little bitter about that Texas A&M fumble late in the fourth quarter--I mean, it was third and two inside the Longhorns twenty. Christ, give it to the full back, right up the middle and send Penn State to the National Championship!
So that sucked.
But it didn't make me ill.
Actually, I've been great. I was just enjoying Thanksgiving with my family. In particular, with my little nephew Willie, who's only sixteen months old, but who I've taught to call me "Uncle Bob". There are any number of reasons I could give you for why I decided to teach Willie to call me Uncle Bob, but they'd all be lies. And the true reason would leave your minds crippled with shock and horror.
So, anyway, now I'm Uncle Bob. And Willie loves his Uncle Bob. Apparently, when I'm not even around, which is about 99.99% of the time, Willie shouts "Uncle Bob! Uncle Bob! Uncle Bob!" He shouts it enough that my dear sister, who has that empty, far away stare in her eyes that only front line combat veterans and mothers of one year olds have, says to me, "We're so happy you taught him to say 'Uncle Bob'".
And she says it in that way that lets me know that she wished I had choked myself as a child on that poorly constructed crib in our bedroom, rather than having grown up into the kind of man who would, for no good reason at all, teach her son to shout "Uncle Bob" seven hundred times a day.
So this pleases me.
She is, after all, my only sister. And I'm her only brother. And if I can bring her bizarre, inexplicable misery, I feel that my job is done. And done well.
And don't start with the moralizing. I'm her brother, for Christ's sake. When we were kids, she used to bite me. Hard.
Also, I love my sister. Nobody is sillier than my sister. She's given me more hiccups than the Latrobe Brewing Company. She's so ridiculously silly that I think every time she and I get together, even in our late thirties, and start giggling like four year olds, my father regrets once again that he didn't stop at one child.
And nobody in the world would ever possibly appreciate the absolute ridiculousness of her brother teaching her son to call him "Uncle Bob" more than my sister.
And I'm pretty sure, at a year and a half, my little nephew Willie is about as silly as his mom. And his Uncle Bob. And that pleases me, as well.
It's Thanksgiving. We give thanks for things. Mostly for stuff we're not thankful enough for the rest of the year. Why should I be any different?
This year, I give thanks for my wonderful and funny, and silly sister. And her excellent husband. And their funny and silly son, Willie.
Isn't she beautiful?
She's been my best friend for as long as I can remember. And I've never been thankful enough for that. So,this year, Brandi, I'm thankful. I'm thankful for a wonderful sister and a great friend, and I'm thankful that, even though you're grown up, moved away, and married, and have a home and a son of your own, I can still torture you.