Thursday, May 5, 2011

X is for Xenurine

The word "xenurine" means "a species of armadillo." This particular critter is also known as a cabassou and is native to South America, with five toes and enormous claws. For those of you who were wondering how I would pull this particular letter off today, hide and watch. ;-) My younger brother James II and his lovely bride Dana collect armadillos! TA-DA!! The long-awaited love letter to two of the most important people in my life...

James: To say our youngest years were tumultuous would be an understatement. You have to understand though, my time as the "baby" was usurped not only by a new baby, but a baby BOY! James loves to tell people our parents "got the one they really wanted" with his birth. Might be true, most likely is not. During this time in our lives, Gayla was our glue. Through her we could play together and get along enough to have a happy childhood. There's a picture of the three of us collapsed on one another asleep in the back seat of our Crown Victoria that would show us to be the perfect children...ASLEEP! High school was another story. We equally tortured one another. However, I do have a fond memory of James being the perfect "date" to a band banquet. He opened doors for me, pulled out my chair for me and spent the whole evening being the perfect guy. Even better, somewhere during our college years, we truly became friends. During one visit with him at A&M, we went to a baseball game and heckled the pitcher mercilessly. The matching T-shirts we bought that day are still around today; he's worn his out so I gave him mine. When I was preparing to move to New York, Gayla and I traveled to A&M to see Bubba and Dana. We took pictures under the Century Tree, ate at Panchos and had a really good time. With the birth of his two sons, James III and William, and the addition of my Darby, our common bond as parents continues to strengthen our relationship. He picks at my child and I dote on his. Most importantly, as adults it is a great comfort to me that we are friends as well as siblings.

Dana: Who do I credit for the shift in my relationship with Bubba? Maturity gets an honorable mention, but our Dana gets the most recognition. When Dana un-officially joined our family in 1994, she brought something to our little clique that is indescribable. I truly believe the close relationship she had with her two brothers influenced James to improve the relationship he had with his sisters. Additionally, their marriage in 2001 was a highlight in all of our lives. Almost anyone will tell you Dana is the quietest person they know. However, wait till she gets going. She can make you laugh from out of nowhere. My favorite story to tell is kind of gross but really funny. There are just not enough rolls in packages! One night at the end of dinner, someone asked, "Does anyone want the last roll?" James said he did. Gayla picked it up and licked one side of said bread, asking, "How about now?" Bubba picked the thing up and licked the other side, saying, "Yep! I still want it." Dana threw her foot into the ring, picked up the roll, and ate it. "Too bad for yall!" she calmly stated. That's our Dana! I love spending time with her because she helps me be a better woman, wife, mother, daughter, friend, aunt and sister...just by her influence! Dana changes the world by showing us all how to behave and how to love.

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