How can someone you hate so much at 8 be someone you can’t stand to be without at 48? Once upon a time, long, long ago, my parents had the perfect nuclear family. A fine strapping boy followed in 2.3 years by a little girl, that would be moi (me for those of us that failed French). But the passing away of my aunt left her gaggle of kids as motherless children aged 2 to 9. Someone would take boys, someone would take babies but no one would take them all. My mom, the same woman who couldn’t stand the thought of anyone to be alone at any holiday including Arbor Day threw open the doors.
This created an instant Sistah mix. She is 49 weeks the elder. At the time, seeming so unfair, she got to do everything first, pierced ears, driving, dating. Nowadays it puts her 49 weeks closer to turning 50 so there. But a funny thing about her is once she hit 5 foot tall she never got any taller.
All the boys adored a tiny petite girlie, ignoring the nearly 6 foot tall awkward girl with condor like wing span she’d inherited from her dear old daddy Buzz. No, he is not standing on a box in this picture.
The girl who had to give up ballet lessons because the leading male dancer only came up boob high. My Sistah was one of the popular girls, pretending not to see me in the school halls dressed in her preppy Izod shirts while my shirts and pants were mandatorily too short on my limbs. Sadly her short stature had its drawbacks. In efforts to save dough my parents claimed her for the under age 13 price at amusement parks and movies well into high school.
But we were thick as thieves, one time Albert Garlotti starting teasing her and pushed her down, I ran up and kicked his a**. It was okay if I did It, but I was family. She was a scrappy fighter, but a scratcher. I still carry a scar on my collarbone, funny thing is she had a matching one my mom gave her to make us even. We covered for each other, mom would set individual alarm clocks for our curfews, we’d turn off one another’s ringers. We did however grow up in an Orthodox Jewish community and all our schoolmates had to be home by sundown so we were left to wandering around the Avenue after dark with nothing but trouble on our minds. Going to parties that newspaper reading frat boys invited us to, drinking too much and holding each other’s hair from the porcelain throne.
My Sistah has assumed the Christmas Eve event since my mom died last year. I’m still responsible for prime rib on the big day but she makes the traditional soup.
1 large bunch cilantro
4 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno, seeded
15 ounces hominy, drained
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin
1 ½ t teaspoon oregano
1 pound sausage
1 ½ pounds boneless and chunked chicken breasts, seasoned and floured
1 ½ large onion
1 large yellow pepper
6 cups chicken broth
1 avocado cut into cubes
Chop cilantro, garlic and jalapeno in food processor. Add ½ cup olive oil, cumin and oregano. Transfer half of the pesto to a small bowl and reserve the remainder for garnish. Add ¾ cup of hominy and set aside. Brown sausage, remove and brown chicken in sausage drippings. Heat remaining olive oil and add peppers and onions stirring until wilted. Add hominy mixture, remaining hominy and chicken broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken, sausage and 3 tablespoons plain pesto. Just before serving add avocado. Serve with remaining pesto and bread.
Once we moved out on our own and started having our own little hell raisers we stopped worrying about who ate the last ice cream sandwich or left the car without gas. Now we laugh about the ridiculous things we did and lived to tell the tale. Like the time Marky Mark took the copper gutters off the church when metal prices went sky high and got busted or Dad installed the stove hood so low only you didn’t have to duck under it shorty. Don’t worry Sistah, I got your back, just as I know you have mine. Happy New Year Ruth!