Saturday, August 05, 2006


Fourteen lines can't tell
All the colored ways and whys
I love my Haiku.

I have a sister named Haiku.* Interesting and beautiful name, isn't it? It really suits her, too; she's just about the most beautiful and interesting person I know. And I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Just ask the guy who stalked her around her parking lot last week hoping to get her phone number. Or the guy who, after learning her name said "Wow. You don't hear that every day."

"Well, I do." Haiku replied.

Or the elementary school students whose science fair projects Haiku judged a few years back. One young girl was so awed that when she saw Haiku evaluating a friend's project she exclaimed, "Lucky! You get the pretty judge!"

Or Sam, who calls her every day on his fold out calculator (or a cell phone, if he can get his hands on one).

People can't help but like her. She's beautiful and interesting and fun. She's so fun, in fact, that sometimes I forget how smart she is. And then she does something like cut her pancakes into shapes to illustrate to my nieces and nephews the mechanics of a chemical reaction. I'm overawed not just at how well she knows her stuff (and she does), but at how she explains her complex areas of study with such accessibility (and tastiness). We're all so proud of her. I think at one time or another I've heard every member of my family brag about "my daughter/sister, who recently completed her PhD at Mayo," or "my daughter/sister, the future Nobel laureate."

The thing is, I'm not sure what she'll win the Nobel Prize for. Curing cancer is a possibility, of course. And she's a great writer too. But I could also see her winning a prize for peace. She's compassionate and kind and endlessly forgiving. I know because throughout our childhood and adolescence I treated her horribly. I was mean and selfish and spiteful. I refused her any tagalong privileges, and did everything I could to distance myself from her. I'm embarrassed to admit that it wasn't until I was in high school that I gave her an ounce of respect. But she held no grudges. When I finally grew up enough to be friends, she was ready. At the time, I didn't notice the transition, but by senior year, I was tagging along with her. I joined her quizbowl team. I followed her into the yearbook/school paper office for lunch (even though I didn't work on the paper and she did). We spent a lot of time together.

I especially enjoyed our rides to seminary and school. Riding in Pam, (the family's burnt-puke- colored Pinto wagon), was always an adventure. But driving it was even more exciting. Between stalling at stop signs and random (but essential) parts falling off, we often arrived at school a little later than we intended. One morning in particular stands out. As we pulled into the parking lot, we noticed the school grounds seemed uncharacteristically empty. We wondered aloud where everyone was, and casually walked into the school. Unhurried, we stopped to chat at my locker. Only when the bell rang a few moments later did we realize why the grounds and hall were deserted: we were late. First period had started while we gabbed.

Better late than never, we headed off for our respective destinations: me to European History, her to English. When my teacher asked why I was late, I told her. She thought it was sweet that Haiku and I were such good friends that we could get lost in conversation. "So sweet I don't have to go to detention?" I asked.

"Not that sweet." She replied.

Haiku's teacher, however, did not notice her tardiness. Still, Haiku came to detention the next morning with me. My European History teacher thought that was sweet too. So did I.

Through the years we've shared so much more than detention. I've been lucky to have Haiku as a roommate, a classmate, a teammate, a partner, and a co-conspiritor. When Haiku lived in Minnesota and I lived in Iowa we'd occasionally get together for weekends. During one of her visits to Iowa City, we happened to catch Julia Child's cooking show on PBS. When the show ended, we were in the mood for more, so we went to the library and checked out a whole stack of "Cooking at Home with Jacques and Julia" videos. We watched and watched. And then we picked out a few dishes that looked yummy, went to the store for ingredients, and made a delicious dinner of porkchops, tomato & avocado salad, and triple chocolate mousse. The food was good, but the best part was how much fun we had watching and cooking together. Coach and I still reminisce about it every time we eat pork chops.

These days geography keeps us from getting together as often as we'd like. I miss Haiku. I miss the foot soak parties and the Sunday Night Denial sessions. I miss the triple chocolate mousse. But even without any of those things, one of the greatest blessings in my life is that near or far, no matter how our lives change, Haiku will always be my sister. And my friend.

Oh, and by the way boys, she's taken.

I love you Haiku! Happy Birthday!

*Names have been changed.


Anonymous said...

Dear Boss,
Thank you for the beautiful tributes to your siblings.
Love Daddy-A

B said...

Boss, thanks for being so great about remembering your siblings! Happy Birthday Haiku! (I really love that name change!)

Tarimisu said...

I really like Haiku too! I have fond and fun memories of her from high school and spending time with she and Marty at your wedding reception. Happy Birthday, Haiku!!!!

Ree said...

Which one of you is bringing the triple chocolate mousse to the next gathering? I've checked Cooking with Julia and Jaques from my library, too. The chocolate Roulade cake is very good.

Happy birthday, Haiku! We love you and your hubby.

Boss said...

Oh! I forgot to point this out! Did you notice that in the picture with Haiku and Sam she is teaching him about yarning?