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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I Do, Cherish You

Life has tossed another curveball. Auntie Shorty went to the hospital for a biopsy yesterday. At the same time, Uncle Giant was getting a chemo treatment. If you're the praying kind, the good vibes variety, the best wishes type, the crossed fingers sort, please include them in your good thoughts.

Uncle Giant is my dad's brother. As many of you know, Dad passed away in February. Their other brother, died a few years before. The big C took them both, along with my mother in-law. I'd say with five people, in five years, we've had more than our family's share of this cancer shit.

I'm trying to stay positive but I am really pissed off. Auntie Shorty and Uncle Giant are the coolest, kindest, most adorable couple. You all know of a couple who have been together forever, right? That's them. They actually met in second grade. Just knowing all of the shit they are going through breaks my heart.

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I know this looks like a scene from a 1970s cheesy porno, but it isn't. And I'll probably get my ass kicked by Auntie Shorty for posting this here, on the Internet, where anyone and everyone in the entire world can see. Here is Uncle Giant (6'5") and Auntie Shorty (4'11") back in the day.

They have always been the glue of our family. During the holidays we would often gather at their house. They never minded that with Dad, came a Vega stuffed to the gizzards with kids, bringing nothing but our appetites.

Whenever anything has gone wrong, they've always been right there offering help. Auntie Shorty always comes to the rescue not only in spirit, but with brownies or some other baked goods in hand. Comfort food is what she calls it.

I asked her not too long ago what the secret was to making her wonderful, melt-in-your-mouth, oh my God, these are better than sex, brownies. She looked up at me so sweetly. She smiled with that twinkle in her eyes that could light up a room and said, "Oh, you know. Box of Duncan Hines and stir it with love." She is not a very good liar.

One bite of her brownies and I flash back to my childhood. Sometimes I think about the holidays at their house. Other times, I am reminded of my grandmother's 80th birthday party.

Uncle Giant thought it would be a good idea to hire a clown for his mother's special day. My grandmother was a tiny, frail, religious woman. The clown reminded me of a south side of Chicago, raunchy adult joke telling type. Sure, she made balloon animals too, but this clown had a dark side. Thankfully, her dirty jokes went right over Grandma's head.

Uncle Giant looked relieved when he heard his mother say, "What? I don't get it." He wiped his brow and said, "That's okay sweet pea, it wasn't funny anyhow," as he choked back his laughter.

So many of my good memories include Auntie Shorty and Uncle Giant. I'm hoping all of this big C stuff is just a friendly reminder from the big G to cherish the people who I love and care about.

(You think if I promise to remove the photo above Auntie Shorty will share her brownie secret?)