The Three Sisters
by Bryan Taylor
As a kid, you are always looking forward to Christmas because of the gifts. You hope that you will receive that toy or other gift you really, really want, and not something practical that your parents think you need. From the parents’ perspective, part of the fun is when your kids provide you with their Christmas list, both to see how long it is, and how many of the things you’ve never heard about before, then letting your kids explain the list to you.
A friend of mine’s daughter likes American Girl dolls, so she simply goes through the catalog and marks the items she wants. When she showed me the catalog, I saw that some of the items were circled and some had an X through them. Now in my way of thinking, this separated the ones she wanted from the things that she didn’t want, but I was wrong. When I told her, “Oh, so these are the items you want and these are the ones you don’t want,” she replied, “No,” in that how could you not understand something that is so obvious voice, “The ones with a circle are the ones for Mommy to get me and the ones with an X are the ones for Santa to get me.” Now I know.
If they write down a list, then half of the work is interpreting what is meant by each request, especially if they are young. Since I have written a novel about three former nuns called The Three Sisters, I’ve started to collect things relating to nuns. I have nun figurines, ceramic penguins that look like nuns, nun movie posters, etc. Last year, the son of a friend of mine put on his Christmas list one simple word: nuns.
Now we knew that he didn’t want to real nuns for Christmas. It’s one thing giving a kid a puppy for Christmas, but giving him a real, live nun would be quite different. After the nun rapped him on the knuckles a few times for misbehaving, I think he would want to get rid of his gift immediately. Moreover, how would you wrap a nun? It would have to be a big box, and you would need to put air holes in the box. Keeping the nun silent wouldn’t be too much of a problem, but you would have to feed her while she was in the box.
At any rate, as we thought, he didn’t want a live nun for Christmas, but we weren’t sure which of my nuns his son wanted. It turned out that several weeks before then, his son had been at my house and had played with the nun bowling set. These are little bowling pins, shaped like nuns and a couple inches high. You set ten of them up, take a marble, and then see how many you can knock down. This request could easily be taken care of, so we were all relieved.
Finally, you have the relative, in our case an aunt, who always gives you a gift that is so weird, you can’t even re-gift it. Of course, the gift is inexpensive, and is something you wouldn’t even choose if it were free, which it is. It is often some item that was left over at the 99-Cent Store, such as Dick Tracy stickers (“They could be worth hundreds of dollars in a few years,” she would say) or on the Free Table at a garage sale (salt and pepper shakers in the shape of Mexican dancers). The first few Christmases, you are amazed that someone would actually give you these things for Christmas, thinking you would treasure them, but after a while you almost look forward to seeing what incredible choice she will make this year.
About five years ago, I got my gift from Aunt Agatha, opened it up, and it was a box with an elaborate design on it. I immediately wondered what was going to be inside the box, so I opened it up, and there was nothing inside. The gift was an empty box! It looked like the kind of box that held a free gift of cosmetics with the purchase of other cosmetics, and it did have a nice smell to it. My Aunt Agatha explained to me that I had complained about losing a couple things during the past year, and the box would help me avoid such losses in the coming year.
The box became an inside joke in our family, and each year we gave “the box” to someone else in the family, passing it along to each other. We did end up finding a good use for “the box.” After I bought the nun bowling set for my friend’s son, I put it inside the box, and now the box has become a convent for the nuns when they aren’t being knocked down by a meandering marble. His son is very happy.
About The Author
Author LinksWebsite: http://www.threesistersnovel.com/ Blog: http://www.threesistersnovel.com/blog/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BryanTaylorAuthor
About The Book
Genre: Humor, Satire
Publisher: Dragon Tree Books
Release Date: July 23, 2013
The college I was at had a small Newman Club for committed collegiate Catholics, who still spent most of their youthful years behaving more like St. Augustine than Cardinal Newman. Some of my friends and I set up a Joyce Club as a refuge for lapsed Catholics, and during our years there, we successfully filched several members of the Newman Club and got them to join our own. Whenever this occurred, I could share the great joy the father in the Bible must have experienced when the Prodigal Son returned home, or the shepherd had found his lost sheep. Working with this close-knit group of friends and learning from each other made college worthwhile. Moreover, there were hundreds of naïve young freshmen each year ripe for corrupting whom I could gird up my loins for, exchange jelly for juice, and turn them into cynics with amazing ease.
Academic life also gave me the opportunity to express my artistic talents in ways that impressed my coterie of college friends. When it snowed, a not infrequent event in Chicago, we created chionic masterpieces that lasted until the sun melted them away. Some were conventional, like Marie Antoinette Gets the Guillotine, but when the college was too cheap to build new sidewalks for its students we put together a column of legless snowmen and snowwomen sitting on their carts and pushing themselves along with paper signs on them saying, “Chicago’s disabled demand new sidewalks!” Thus we married the avant-garde to social activism.
We would also create living art, recreating and transmogrifying great works of the past. The one that got me and my fellow artists into real trouble was when we recreated Da Vinci’s Last Supper with me in puris naturalibus as The Naked Maja recumbent upon the table in front of Christ and his disciples. If the college officials had complained about the anachronistic juxtaposition of Da Vinci’s Cenacle and Goya’s Ode to Pubic Hair as the Christ and his disciples argued over who was going to pay thirty pieces of silver for me, I would have understood their objections, but instead they complained about my full frontal nudity, even though I was as faithful to Goya’s original as I could be. Sure, Billy Sunday wouldn’t have liked it, but he had died decades before. We referred to our masterpieces as Mama Art, the indirect descendent of Dada Art.