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This has always been my very favorite time of year, this last part of November. The weather turns colder. Five things happen in the last two weeks of this month that make it special for me, as exciting as anticipating Christmas for a child. First comes my birthday, then two days later, my little sister’s birthday, then, the Alabama-Auburn football game, then Thanksgiving, and finally, my mother’s birthday. That’s my sister Angie, to the right of our little mother in the photo. She was born on November 21, the day before President Kennedy was killed. While the nation buried a president, my family laid to rest her twin, Anthony, who lived only a few minutes.
I’ve always imagined that my sister’s life has been affected in some way by the loss of that twin brother, that the presentiment of loss is something that she has carried with her. This may be my fanciful, writerish imagination at work, but Angie has always made her way alone. This November, especially, I want her to know that she is not alone.
Angie has always been a secret favorite of mine. I love her sense of humor. I love to hear her sing, something she routinely refuses to do, but I do love her voice. I love her fierce love for her children. I admire her for getting up every day and going to work. I am proud of her strength, of her determination to keep on keeping on.
I write books about women with Angie’s kind of strength. They inspire me. They make me question myself. Do I have her kind of strength? Could I keep going, shouldering what she carries? I don’t know.
I do know that when I have needed help, Angie has helped me. I wish I could return the favor.
This November is double-edged, with sadness, because our family gatherings at Mother’s house are no more, but also with real joy, because I still have lots of memories of great times. Angie was a big part of going home to visit. My first question after I arrived at our mother’s house was always, “Where’s Angie? Somebody call her at work and tell her to get over here.” The fun started when I could get us all together, laughing and teasing each other. Good times.
Happy birthday, Angie, Mom, and me.