December 31 | Chinese Firedrill
One sporadic trip to Anchorage found us bored as usual so we all decided to liven things up a bit by playing car games, one being Chinese fire drills. Every stoplight, everyone jumps out of the car and runs around as many times as possible then gets back in before the light turns green. We did this for about an hour until our friend Justin kept running after the light was green... the looks the people in the other cars gave us was satisfaction enough!
December 24 | Christmas Present
Year after year Melissa and I would ask our mom what she wanted for Christmas. Often, her answer would be for the two of us to get along. A few years prior, however, she answered that her children is all she needed and all she wanted.
Frustrated with her evasive answers and our lack of creativity, we decided to give mom just what she asked.
We found the largest box we could - it really didnít have to be very big - and on Christmas morning I would stuff Melissa into it. Adorned with a big red bow, I would give the box to Mom. Melissa would pop out like a small, skinny, and energetic jack-in-the-box; we were delighted with ourselves.
I'm sure the cuteness of the gift wore off after a few years of the same box, same bow, and same skinny girl. But I wouldn't have fit in the box.
December 24 | Merry Christmas
Christmas Eve has come and I was remembering Christmas past. The first Christmas I spent with the family, Melissa was three or four. Of course, I always believed in getting up at 5:30 and going over & waking everyone up to open presents. Melissa was not much of a morning person, but she was always excited to open presents. We always had fun and as we all got older and wiser I learned to sleep in a little. This year Taylor, Devyn & Kymber will be at the house to bless mom & dad with an early wake up call to the Christmas tree and cinnamon rolls and french toast are on the menu. And though the house will be alive with the noise of kids and filled with Christmas there will be an emptiness. Merry Christmas Melissa, wish we were together.
December 21 | A Song for Melissa
1. I will always believe that you would be the brightest among the stars
'Cause I saw your light shine long ago
Long before you believed,
I knew you could be in heaven's place.
Where are you now?
Did you finally find your place in this world?
Tell me true -
Is the brightest star I see tonight,
Is it really you?
2. Standing on the brink of beginning
On your own, a road ready to travel
Packing up past mistakes,
Gaining experience on the way
3. And now I'll never know the future
Would the plans and dreams come true?
But this I know for sure
You would have become the brightest among the stars
Here or there - your light will shine
In our hearts the memory is true
So now I know tonight
The brightest star shining above is you.
I can see you now
You've found your place out of this world
I know it's true
The brightest star in God's heaven -
Can only be you.
December 20 | Final Goodbye
Valette and I decided to drive to Anchorage to see Melissa off. I'm so glad we went. I got to say goodbye to my baby sister and to give her a hug. If I'd known it would be forever, I would have held her longer.
December 19 | Home for the Holidays
Melissa was scheduled to come home last night and fill us in on her new adventures in life, her new love, and all the great things that happened while she was away. She was coming home to spend the holidays projectile vomiting, eating bread and snowmachining with us. While she is in a better place, our lives, my life, is emptier without her. Masissa--wish you were here to tell us all about your adventures while you've been away. I miss you and am thankful you so graciously touch my life. I love you...
December 19 | Alaskan Wading
On warm summer days, when the low tide was positioned perfectly in the afternoon, Melissa and I would hop in my truck, perhaps remembering a towel and perhaps not, and head to the beach on the spit.
Parking in some stable-looking sand, we would make a bee-line for the shore, stopping twenty feet or so from the water to remove watches, glasses, and shoes. The water felt great on our toes, feet, legs, stomachs, and shoulders.
Rarely did we actually swim - the water was much too cold for prolonged immersion. Our wading activities would culminate at convincing each other to dunk completely under: get your head wet. Once that feat was accomplished, we would go back to the truck.
We did this as often as we could for two or three summers. When we forgot the precious towels, the seats of my truck would be soaked. When we remembered the precious towels, the seats of my truck would still be soaked.
On one such excursion two males, perhaps in their late teens or early twenties, followed us to the water's edge and gaped as we jumped right in. Being from a southern state, they could not believe we would risk what they thought would surely be pneumonia for a quick swim.
But with good looks and a great humor, we convinced them to join us. Never before had we heard guys squeal in such a fashion. We eventually did get email addresses, but did not try to contact them.
The day after her graduation, Bridger and I needed to leave for Fairbanks. We sung by to say goodbye to my mom and Melissa. She pleaded and pleaded for me to go wading with her, but I had no time.
How I wish that I could feel the cold Alaskan water with her once more.
December 17 | Tattoo Party
Carrie asked how the tattooing went on Saturday.
Speaking for myself: pain. Lots of pain. But I'm glad I went through with it. I now have a permanent piece of Moe on my shoulder.
Here are the pictures of the final products (images will pop up): Beth's tattoo, on her chest; Bridger's tattoo, on his lower back; Damon's tattoo, on the top of his shoulder; Dana's tattoo, on her side; Valette's tattoo, on my shoulder blade.
December 17 | First Bikini
I was thinking today of the first time Melissa visited us. She came up on spring break. We were tossing about things to do and decided we were going to Chena Hot Springs. Melissa didn't have a suit, or had planned to buy one up here, I don't remember which. Anyway, Melissa, Damon and Valette went to Lamonts and the two siblings talked Melissa into getting a two-piece. There was a big to do about it when they all came back to my place.
Once at the hot springs, I finally got to see Missa model the suit. It was a tank style top with french cut bottoms. She looked so darn good! I remember feeling very jealous and a bit shy about how I looked. She caught the eye of everyone there. The other thing I remember about that trip was that Melissa was completely herself. She played hard and we all had a really good time. How she looked was not the all consuming priority as it was with so many other girls her age. She was just ready to have fun. I miss her laughter and seeing her abandon herself to the moment.
December 12 | To the McLay Family...
This is for all the Mclay's that graciously "adopted" me:
I love you all! You are positively the most wonderful family in the world! I keep reading all the entries that you put in and I feel completely out of place! You all have nearly 19 years of memories and I have less than 2...not to be depressing or anything, I just came across a moment of absolute honesty and had to express it.
Anyway, I love you guys! :)
December 12 | SpongeBob Squarepants
Guess what I saw today?! The Fun episode of Spongebob and I thought of you!
"F is for friends who do stuff together...
U is for you and me...
N is for anywhere and anytime at all...
down here in the deep blue sea!"
It just made me think and I thought you should know that I REALLY miss you my Spongebuddy!
December 11 | Once Upon a Time
Looking through Dana and my wedding scrapbook I found something that Melissa gave us just before our wedding. It was written on a ruled 3x5 card. Gotta love the spelling:
Once thar was a grile namde Dana. She wnt to chrech. One day she meat a man and thuy got maryd und they livd hupply evea avt. The End.
December 11 | Talkative
I chatted with Melissa on ICQ quite a bit. Well, chatted isn't really the word. It was more like me playing 20 questions and Melissa rotating her answers through the standard, "yeah", "nothin", and "I don't know". She was quite adept at making one of those three answers fit any question. It was like beating your head against a wall to hold an actual conversation with her.
I miss playing 20 questions with her...
December 11 | Projectile Christmas
Multiple years in a row, Melissa was sick Christmas morning. She would be fine the days prior, fine during the candlelight service at church, fine all night as she jumped on her bed waiting for Christmas to come. As if by magic, when she was awoken at 8am on December 25, she would be sick.
But not just any normal kind of sick. She would be curled in Dad's recliner being projectile-vomiting-sick.
Se would still open presents - no one would take that from her - but she would skip the whole family breakfast thing and head back to bed.
Christmas won't be Christmas until someone projectile vomits.
December 10 | Miss you...
Just wanted to say I was thinking about you and I really miss you! ...love lives on even when the heart beats gone...
December 10 | tattoo
Probably everyone involved has a different take on this memory. When Melissa came to Fairbanks to visit us one of her goals was to get a tatoo. Last I had heard, via the ever reliable brother/sister grapevine, was that she wanted a dark skull type tatoo. I was not thrilled about this. But by the time she came up here Damon had convinced her to go with something different. (I think asking her to imaging a flaming skull on her skin at 60 helped). I don't know how the idea came up but Missa and I were sitting in the tatoo shop looking at books of frogs. I marked a couple pictures I thought were really cute. She eventually picked a blue poison dart frog. Everyone loved it. I left before the appointment was finished. She showed me at home later that evening. She now had a blue frog crawling up the small of her back. Damon said the tatoo message was "I'm cute but can be deadly". Melissa loved that. I really miss that she's not here to get a second tatoo.
December 10 | Swimming?
Last winter, when Missa and I were just starting to get close, we went swimming at the High School. Her, Gabby, Leighann, Kalyn, and I went. We weren't really swimming so much as drowning...in the shallow end at that! Melissa was talking like Elmer Fudd saying something like, "She wubbed me and wubbed me until I went (the usual Elmer Fudd laugh)" She just did it so perfectly that all of us swallowed many gulps of chlorine while laughing that we were doing more drowning than laughing.
December 07 | Chemically Challenged
Melissa came up to Fairbanks to visit this last spring. While she was here she asked me to color her hair. We went to the store and chose a light red color for the main part of her hair and then a darker red for accents. We dyed the first color and it came out much darker than we were wanting. So... we went back to the store and got more dye, this time a lighter color. Still didn't come out like we wanted.
After several more trips to the store, several more boxes of hair color, and 6am the next morning... Melissa's hair was a flaming red and orange specimen of something that you'd expect to see in a nuclear reactor. We had such a good time that night...
December 04 | Share the Spirit
For a couple of years in December, Melissa and I would take a special trip to Anchorage to shop for the left over angel gifts for Share the Spirit. We would drive up in the afternoon and stay with John, Heidi and the girls. We would stay up until wee hours of the morning organizing the list and planning things to buy and then get up at like 5:30-6:00am and shop until midnight, taking about an hour off for food and organizing. Then we would re-group at the house and sleep a few hours and do it all over again. One year, I remember in particular we borrowed Jeanette's Yukon and Rodney drove up the next day in his truck. We bought so many presents for the under-priviledged in Homer that we had to wedge ourselves in the vehicles to get back to Homer. And on the way we got a flat tire! Thank goodness Rodney was following us to change the tire otherwise we would have had to unload the whole Yukon to fix the flat.
It was a lot of hard work and we were exhausted when we were done, but we had so much fun! Melissa was awesome at picking out the "in" things that would make the kids feel special.
I miss you, Melissa. You know if I picked out the clothes the kids would get beat up or teased!
December 02 | What's in a Name
One summer Melissa was jealous that the family fishing boat shared a name with me. Not was she only jealous, but she was loud as well; she made sure everyone within earshot heard of this injustice.
Either John (one of our older brothers) was naïve and believed this injustice, or he just wanted her to stop moaning; I care to believe the latter. He walked out to our skiff that was sitting next to the shop and promptly painted her name on its stern.
With a big, pretty, red rose.
For weeks I was the jealous one. Not only did she get a boat named after her (our fishing boat was one year older than I, therefore it was not named after me), but she got a pretty rose to boot.
I reacted the only way an older sister could be expected: I taunted her about being the teeny skiff while I was a boat, and that she would never measure up.