Yesterday I received a wedding invitation to a cousin’s wedding for this November and I laughed so hard when I opened it that my husband thought I had gone bonkers. Before receiving that wedding invitation, she and I had not spoken nor had any contact since we were 10 years old. Lemme tell ya why.
I was born and raised in NYC, but my family is from the south. Mom’s fam is from Aiken, SC and dad’s fam is from Augusta, GA. Aiken and Augusta are spitting distance from each other, so every summer my parents and I drove “down south”. Ya’ll know that term? Ask anybody from, dare I say, north of Maryland, what the term means and you’ll laugh. We referred to anything south of Philly as “down south”, be it Maryland or Alabama. Anyway, we stopped in Aiken for 4 days, then continued on to Augusta to spend a week there. After that, my parents would head back to NY and I’d stay for another 3 weeks. Ya know, getting to know the kinfolk. The cousin in question, let’s call her Too Fly, and I are the same age. We are both spoiled only children and when together, we were either best friends or sworn enemies. The summer of 1986, we turned 10 and we were sworn enemies. Our feud had begun a few days after I arrived and I can’t remember the beginning. I can’t recall why it started, but the ending is quite vivid.
It was 2 weeks into my 3 week stay and the heat in Augusta was unbearable. When I was in town, Too Fly and I stayed with her grandparents (my Great Uncle and Aunt). By the time my Great Auntie cooked our breakfast and put us out the house for the day, it was already 100 degrees and humid as hell. We ran to the backyard to play. My Great Uncle was a construction worker and his specialty was laying bricks. So, behind the house was always a huge pile of bricks. This particular morning, I suggested that we build a house and Too Fly agreed. She offered to work on the front and I agreed to work on the back.
For hours in the hot sun, we were lifting, dragging and stacking bricks to make our version of a house. (sidebar – what the heck is wrong with the kids today? We know how to make ANYTHING fun. We were stacking bricks ya’ll. WTH??) We took a break when my Auntie brought out sandwiches and fresh brewed sun tea. Working on the house together made our feud seem silly! As with most childhood fights, by the end of lunch, we were the best of friends. We continued working, chatting and making big plans for our house. We were going to use her Wonder Woman blanket in our shared bedroom. We planned to pick wild flowers from the field by the house to decorate. Big, big plans.
When we each finally yelled that we were finished, we were so elated that we hugged and spun around in a circle. Then she ran to the back to check out my work and I ran to the front to check out her work. As I rounded the corner, I couldn’t believe my eyes. You see, Too Fly was skinny, and ya girl TDJ was chubby. She was Kenny/”BUD” to my Peter (a la The Cosby Show). Or she could play Ricky to my Doughboy (a la “Boyz in the Hood”). Ya’ll understand? Let me tell ya’ll what she did. She made the front door teeny weeny small. I mean, so small that she was going to have to enter sideways, while holding her breath and praying for a helpful breeze. So obviously, I wasn’t going to even come close to getting in that little house.
My little eyes began to tear and I called out to her and she came running.
Me: Too Fly, why’d you make the door so small? I can’t get in the house.
Too Fly: Oops! Sorry fatty. You can’t get in, but I can.
Then she skipped over to the doorway and slid inside, then back out. She repeated this about a million times while chanting, “I’M IN. I’M OUT. I’M IN. I’M OUT.”
Well folks, something inside me snapped. (Do ya’ll watch that show “Snapped” on the Oxygen channel? I love it. Check it out.) Growing up as a chubby child, I’d experienced my share of name calling from kids at school and neighborhood kids that I didn’t know well. But, never had a friend or family member made fun at my expense. When I say, I snapped ya’ll, I mean it. I blame it on the hot Georgia sun and the 5 pounds of sugar in that sweet tea. I sprinted over to the doorway of that little brick house and the next time Too Fly slid inside yelling, “I’M IN”, I pushed with both hands and all my strength. That little brick house toppled over and her skinny ass was at the bottom of the pile! Then I yelled, “NOW STAY IN!”
Now of course, in hindsight, I realize that I could have killed that girl. But, it was purely in self defense, your honor! I was defending myself against an evil, bratty, skinny cousin. As Too Fly cried out in pain and shock, Auntie came shuffling out the house to see what the commotion was and I took off inside to call my personal angel. I grabbed the telephone and dialed the operator. When she picked up, I said, “Operator, I need to make a collect call to my grandma.” Once my call was connected and my grandmother picked up the phone, the floodgates opened. “Grandma! I don’t like Too Fly, I don’t like Georgia and I want to come home. Please make my parents come get me or I’m just gonna die.” Come on, I was an only child and prone to be just a tad bit melodramatic.
Well, my grandma, who we call LuLu around these parts, rules with an iron fist and nobody better mess with her oldest grandbaby. Ya’ll know my daddy showed up the next morning right? *lol* Umm humh, yep, sure did. She called, he listened and then he hopped in the car and drove all night to be there when I woke up. I was already packed, because I knew that my Grandma would not let me down. My daddy and my Auntie talked a bit and then it was time to hit the road. Too Fly waved from the porch, as our car drove away. She looked like the walking wounded with a busted, fat lip, three band aids on her face, six on her arms and 4 on her legs. I waved back and giggled softly.
After that summer, I never visited Georgia again. Not sure why exactly, but I’m sure that incident had a little something to do with it. Junior high and life kicked in, so we never spoke again. Hubby and I might pack up and head to her wedding. I promise to leave the bricks at home.
*****Note from MrsTDJ – We weren’t able to attend the wedding, but I did send them a nice gift, along with a custom mug for my cousin that said, “I survived the Brick Storm of ’86”. She called me after their honeymoon and we had a good laugh. I finally made it down to visit in ’09 and we couldn’t be closer now*****
Ever got into any memorable fights with family members? Siblings? Cousins? How long before ya’ll made up? Everything cool now or are things still chilly?