Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Eulogy for Aunt Lisa

My Aunt Lisa recently passed. It was completely unexpected and added tragedy to a family that is all too familiar with it.

I think she was sort of tired of being the youngest in a huge Catholic family and at some point started going by Lee instead of Lisa. There was no way that was ever going to catch on with me.

Part of the reason Aunt Lisa was so popular among her nieces and nephews was the way she was able to hang onto that childlike wonder so many of us lose to our 9 to 5 jobs.

When outside people ask me to describe Lisa, there are a few events or personality traits that run through my mind.

She was willing to watch her Ghostbusters' VHS tape with me so often as a kid, it started wearing out and no amount of tracking could fix it.

There were the countless and desperate pictures I was tagged in on Facebook, of errors her and grandma's ancient computer would throw at her in the middle of the night. All with captions of "WTH does this mean? LOL" She knew that Nephew Dan's tech service never slept.

Or how she would bring her own food to family gatherings. And while some people couldn't understand why her Jack N the Box tasted so much better than actually grilled burgers, I used it as an opportunity. No amount of compliments I received for my cooking from others could compare to the seal of approval of Aunt Lisa not only eating my food, but then asking for the recipe. (This often also lead to pictures of me being tagged on Facebook, every time she made my Buffalo Chicken Dip or Mac and Cheese. Now that I think about it, I don't know that Lisa actually ever tagged me on a picture with me in it.)

Or how her face would turn red as she laughed at Nick and I playing Royal Rumble on the Sega Genesis. All it took was throwing Hulk Hogan into the bell and hearing it ring.

But I think the greatest definition of who Aunt Lisa was to me involved Legos. If my parent's needed a child sitter at night, it was usually my Aunt Lisa that would volunteer. (Or be volunteered)

Other sitters from around the neighborhood were happy to let me sprawl my Legos out on the floor and earn their money as I mostly took care of myself. That wasn't good enough for Aunt Lisa. She had to be involved in my adventures, and let me tell you, she was one hell of an adventuring companion.

Lego didn't always get movie licenses. In fact, that's a fairly recent phenomenon. Kevin Costner's "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" was set to come out in 1991. So, to beat them to the punch, Lego released a Robin Hood knock-off known as the Forestmen.

I got the Forestmen's Crossing for my birthday, and Lisa was excited. She had played with Lego pirates and astronauts with me before, but this was the first time Lisa saw a strong woman, equipped with a bow and arrow.

This is how my Aunt Lisa looked

No matter what fiendish enemy attempted to attack our tree fort, Lisa's Lego heroin would save the day. 

She would say "pew pew" with a smile on her face as she let loose arrows at the Lego monkey that always for some reason had pistols in its hands. 

She always fought me when I said she got shot by one of the pirates saying that her hero had dodged the bullet. 

And anytime one of my heroes was laying on the ground with a sword wound, she would swing in on a vine and save me. 

So to me, Lisa will always be one of Robin Hood's Merrymen Merry-Women. Always swinging in to save the day from the 9 - 5 tedium we all get lost in.