Growing up the youngest of three kids, I had my fair share of being picked on but I gave my share of bratty back so it evened out. My sister is almost four years older than I am and though it appears that I could take her down in hand to hand combat, you would be so very wrong to think that. She may be tiny but she is scrappy and tough as hell. So, between looking up to her as an older sister and being afraid knowing she could take me down if she wanted to, I pretty much did whatever she told me to do. Except when I didn’t.
There were several “rules” she made that I had to obey whether she was around to enforce them or not. And believe you me, I followed those rules no matter what because, honey, that girl could be pretty freaking scary when she wanted to be. I knew better than to mess with her. (I still do.) Respect, yo. But…(you knew that was coming, right?) there was one rule I just couldn’t obey. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t do it. I suppose you (or Gloria Estefan) could say “the rhythm was going to get me” eventually.
One of our all time favorite songs was “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” so of course we (and by we I mean she) got it on a 45 to play on our (and by our I mean her) awesomely cool blue record player. There was one rule. I was never ever ever ever never ever EVER never even if there is a fire and you have to call our for help with the song never ever sing ANY part of the song EVER except the background (Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh,Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh,etc). She was not kidding. That rule was law. In fact, it was the biggest rule of my childhood as laid down by my older sister.
But sometimes my sister would leave the house for sleepovers. Oh, those glorious sleepovers! I would sneak into her room, get out her radically cool record player, and her hip blue 45 record case. (Did you have one of those? We still have it.) I would carefully count each record until I came to The Lion Sleeps Tonight to ensure I could return it to the exact same spot. I was careful not to be caught. I’d close her door and play that record over and over and over and over. And you can darn well believe I sang every single lyric of that song. I sang on the top of my lungs. I sang as if the room was sound proof. (As a parent I can only imagine my own parents giggling at my act of rebellion that brought me such joy.) I sang until my voice was cracking and my throat was dry. (Or my brother came in and threatened me.)
I carefully replaced everything exactly as I found it, left the room with the biggest smile on my face and felt as if I had gotten away with something HUGE. To this day, I still hesitate to sing the lyrics. It’s not as if she is going to pop out from the back of my van and attack me. But still. It is THE rule I cannot ever ever break!
I was brought back to this when my former boss for years and good friend Elisa posted this awesome video on Facebook. And guess what? I sang the entire song. Shhhhh….don’t tell my sister. Seriously. She can still kick my hiney if she wanted to.