During the holiday season many families gather together to share customs, beliefs and traditions to enjoy holiday cheer. My family is the same. We go to my sister’s house to celebrate Christmas. Going to my sister’s house for dinner has become a family tradition. Every year myself, my children, my mother, my siblings, niece and nephew gather together on this auspicious day to over-eat, talk over one another and the best part, exchange gifts.

Everyone has an aunt or uncle, sister or brother that you can pretty much predict what kind of gift you will get. My family is big on books, YEA!! The “envelope,” which you know is cash, YEA!! and gift cards. Like I said, we celebrate a tradition.

I am the youngest of five children. I have one sister. Her name is Betty. She is the oldest of the siblings. Next come my three brothers and then, me. My sister has always been a shining star in my eyes. She is 10 years my senior. When I was a little girl I would lay in our room on my bed and watch her study at our desk. Betty attended Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, was in the marching band color guard, flag twirler (totally cool), had a boyfriend who drove a snazzy car and got straight A’s or I thought so. She also had beautiful LONG brown hair. Betty wore make up, snuck off to the mall and had her ears pierced at the Piercing Pagoda much to my mothers dismay and had a friend who would come over with her guitar and play “Puff The Magic Dragon!” It was the 70’s. I wasn’t allowed in the room. She was the coolest in my eyes then as she is now. Betty was always “the good girl,” that hasn’t changed either or I think not. Betty???

CBS News, reported in an article titled “Personality Linked To Birth Order,” that over half of U.S presidents were firstborns. Clearly, firstborns are natural leaders. They also tend to be reliable, conscientious and perfectionists who don’t like surprises. Although, firstborns are typically aggressive, many are also compliant people pleasers. They are model children who have a strong need for approval from anyone in charge.” That is Betty. I on the other hand, being the youngest have the characteristics of “being social and outgoing and they are the most financially irresponsible of all birth orders. They just want to have a good time. Knowing that these kids love the limelight, it’s no surprise to discover that Billy Crystal, Goldie Hawn, Drew Carey, Jim Carey and Steve Martin are all lastborns.” Here is the link, you can look yourself up.

Betty went into nursing and has risen to heights within the healthcare industry that when we get together, I don’t offer a chair because she sit on so many. Her background as a care giver has influenced her professionally and personally. Personally this has rolled over into her gift giving style. One year Betty gave us each an American Red Cross Emergency Radio,so that we would be prepared when a tornado, flood, hurricane, blizzard or the end of the world came. This radio is weather-resistant has a hand-crank power generator that powers the unit’s AM/FM/TV/Weather radio, built-in LED flashlight, cell phone charger and emergency siren. Me being the eternal optimist never thinking that “weather” would be an issue, financially broke like most last born children uh-hem, and young at the time, didn’t appreciate the value of that radio. Now that I’m older and wiser, I hate to say it and regret it now, damn that weather, re-gifted it. I’m sorry Betty. I didn’t know…

Another year Betty gave the family pedometers. A pedometer is a device that counts each step a person takes by detecting the motion of the person’s hips. A daily target of 10,000 steps has been recommended by the US Surgeon General. Betty’s motive once again at the family Christmas present swap, was to take care of the family (first-born) and make sure we are heart smart, active and fit. Well Betty, I didn’t re-gift it but I never used it… now, it’s lost. I WAS SKINNY AT THE TIME, I’M SORRY. I think she once worked for the US Surgeon General at some point in her career. She had some important job in Washington DC. I’ve seen her CV,  curriculum vitae or resume for people like me, and it like reading Latin. All her jobs are beyond my comprehension. All I know is that she has a multitude of letters after her name on her business card, MS, PhD, and SW etc. I put in the SW, it stands for Super Woman. I don’t know what she does and I don’t need to, I have Betty!

This year Betty gave me a year-long membership to AAA car service. In a few years I wouldn’t be surprised if I get a subscription to AARP. Careful Betty, remember I’m the last born with a big ego so please be gentle with the timing. I was recently in a car accident, not my fault. I needed a tow which is costly and once again I have no money… last born. I called Mom for her AAA number. Mom’s always save the day. Betty is a mom as well, and the oldest sibling.

The day after Christmas my son, whose life revolves around basketball therefore my does as well, had a tournament far away that started at 10 am. The day after Christmas!! I’m always running late, ugh again baby of the family, so we rushed to get ready. It was a cold, gray, wet morning. The last thing I wanted to do was to drive a long distance for an hour-long basketball game. Well wouldn’t you know, I wouldn’t have to. Why? When I went to start my car, my battery was dead. I couldn’t believe it, I left the INTERIOR light on. Then again… damn the birth order! Quickly I went into survival mode and called the coach to see if we could bum a ride. He had been there for an hour by that time. He must be the oldest in his family because clearly he left too early but, unlike myself was at the game. I had to break the news to my son… we wouldn’t make the game. Much to my surprise, James my son, took the news very well. He jumped right out of the car and ran inside to play with his new Legos while I sat in my car dumbfounded. In all my years, I had to have my car jumped once, last summer at the end of a long beach day, I left my headlights on. I couldn’t believe it, AN INTERIOR LIGHT COULD DRAIN MY BATTERY? How stupid, or I suppose me in this situation. No less than 12 hours after I got that membership, I was using my Christmas gift from my sister, 12 hours!!

Knowing that my sister had given me AAA the night before, I went into the house to see if I could call upon the service to come to my rescue. I hadn’t read the information yet and wasn’t sure if it was activated. With fingers crossed, I opened the envelope and YES, I had a temporary number until my card arrived. I called the number, expecting to get the usual telephone customer service mistreatment that has become standard these days and was pleasantly surprised when the agent took my information and informed me that a truck would be out within two hours. The lady on the phone was so pleasant working the day after Christmas she must have been a middle child.

Within the hour, my phone rang telling me the truck would be here in five minutes, and it was. Here came my knight in shining tow truck Tom to save the day. Tom jumped my battery, ran a diagnostic test and gave me a tutorial worthy of YouTube. He also told me about some of the perks of membership like discounts at stores and movies when shopping, but you have to ask at the stores, they don’t tell you. What a relief, my car was running and I didn’t have to tell my mom who if I had, would not have been surprised this happened to me. My sister saved the day once again. If I remember correctly, Betty was a girl scout too. THANK YOU BETTY!





I am a writer, poet, humorist, screenwriter, blogger. I am not a label. Out of tragedy comes comedy. I see hysterical in the simple. This is my head. I live an extraordinary ordinary life. I am inspired, creative, passionate and fiery. I have been through and will continue. I will put it down and hope you pick it up. I am exposed, vulnerable, honest and authentic. I am sarcastic and witty. My favorite thing to do is watch life and laugh and cry and start over again. I invite you to laugh, release and lighten up with me. When life has kicked your butt, it's all about the comedy! Comedy fuels me, poetry soothes me, and dancing ignites...

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