Jerry’s sister Linda, to all appearances, is goodness personified. She’s kind. She’s sweet. She’s generous to a fault. She has never done drugs, has a glass of wine every now and again. She’s always there for friends and neighbors… And family. She doesn’t swear. Ever. She raised two exceptional sons who are both married to
two exceptional women. She has three exceptional grandchildren. She loves them and dotes on them all.
It’s heartwarming sometimes to observe Linda’s husband Tom as he observes her. After more than 41 years of marriage, it’s obvious he still adores her. Understandably.
|ONE CHRISTMAS LONG AGO: LINDA AS THE VIRGIN MARY, OF COURSE.|
Linda seems to have the patience of a saint. Unlike her brother, whose nickname “San Geraldo” is simply ironic.
An example of Linda’s patience: She taught 2nd grade for 34 years. And she loved it.
However — come on, you had to realize there would be a “however” — all is not as it seems.
I won’t tell you how Linda cheats at cards, because she’ll just yell at me and say, “I do not!” But I will share a couple of other stories.
|LINDA THE GOOD(?) AND SAN GERALDO.
(NOTE THE DOLLAR BILL IN HER HAND. SHE WAS PAID TO BE GOOD THAT DAY.)
When Linda and Jerry were young, they were playing Cowboys and Indians with a bunch of friends. (Shamefully, that’s what our generation of Caucasian Americans grew up doing.) I don’t know whether he was a Cowboy or an Indian on that particular day, but Jerry was captured and tied up in the middle of the neighbor’s barn. His ankles were tied together. His hands were tied behind his back. And there was a rope wrapped around his waist and tied to a post.
Linda ran into the barn to rescue her big brother. She untied him and started to run back outside. But Jerry didn’t follow. So, she turned around and gave him a shove in the back while yelling, “Come on! Run!!!”
Linda had only untied the rope around Jerry’s waist. His hands were still tied behind his back. His ankles were still tied together. When Linda pushed, Jerry went forward — like a plank — hitting the barn’s wooden floor face-first. Well, really nose-first… and it broke (his nose, not the floor).
An accident. Or so Linda says.
|“THAT’S SAN GERALDO TO YOU, PARDNER.”
(BEFORE THE BROKEN NOSE.)
Years later, Teacher Linda was leading the kids back into the building after recess. One little boy wasn’t moving quickly enough. So, she gave him a gentle nudge in the back. The little boy fell over. Being a very kind and caring teacher (and person), Linda helped the little boy up. But he just stood there staring at the open door. Linda said, “Well, come on,” and again gave him a gentle nudge. And again he fell over.
Linda— still patient, kind, and caring — helped the boy back to his feet. But he still just stood staring at the open door. “Well come on. Get going,” she said sweetly. She gave him another little shove and he fell over a third time.
At this point, all the other children waiting behind Linda and their classmate, were staring bug-eyed with mouths agape.
As Linda helped the little boy to stand one more time, she noticed that she was standing with her foot firmly planted on his untied shoelace.
Linda moved her foot off the shoelace and nudged the boy through the door. Turning to the remaining group of students, she said, “Let that be a lesson to you all. That’s what happens when you don’t tie your shoes!”
|LINDA (RIGHT) AND A FRIEND ABOUT TO GIVE
LITTLE SISTER LEANN A LESSON IN HULA HOOP.