September 27, 2013

Christy Grunst Black

I’ve known Christy Grunst Black her entire life [and] yes, that makes me older for the rest of my days.She is family, yet perhaps more importantly, she is treasure, a friend-treasured.Today, I celebrate her!

From Disney World to Rehobeth [and] Port Charlotte to Lake Chautauqua, Another One Bites the Dust to Borderline [and] Like a Virgin to Pour Some Sugar on Me, and not to mention our numerous productions, the most famous of which was GREASE, Summer of 1979.

We have spent countless numbers of hours with one another.

We grew up together though we lived hours apart, we were not mere acquaintances, we KNEW each other thanks to the committed efforts of our moms. We spent time at my house in Pittsburgh, Christy’s in Potomac, and a lot of time at our grandmother’s in Munderf, PA [and] yes, we knew how to have fun.

From accepting dares from my brother, Doug, to touch the electric fence promising all the while that we would not get shocked to climbing the apple tree outside the kitchen window, then taking off across the street to play Queen of the Mountain at the saw mill or to the field to attempt to tip some cows.

And, then there was the outhouse, the privy, if you will [and] yes, we were fascinated by the privy though it was a bit scary at night.

We enjoyed walks to Herb’s store which was halfway between Grammy’s house and the church at Munderf laughing at those who would honk their horns thinking to ourselves if they only knew we were their cousins. The candy case was the draw [and] Bubs Daddy [watermelon] was a popular pick. Then we’d be off to stop in at Regna’s to pick up milk, milk-in-bottles, mind you.

One day we took to the lower field which had flooded for a little friendly UFC only to be told by Glen [our step-grandfather] that we shouldn’t play in stagnant water over the septic tank: trichinosis don’t you know?!

Yes, that was the day we were introduced to the elixir of choice known as red liniment. Red liniment was a common analgesic; active ingredients, camphor [and] cayenne pepper; NOTHING to do with the treatment of trichinosis; EVERYTHING to do with Glen serving us shots.

Make no mistake, Christy can throw back the shots; me, not so much. It was wretched, but we didn’t get trichinosis, nor did Christy get any migraines:)

Grammy’s house was FUN: slip-n-slide, family reunions, the garden, bonfires, PIT, FLINCH, I’m a donkey, ROOK, SORRY, quilting, singing, the telling of stories, puzzles, the water pump, moonflowers, spinning a yarn, birthday celebrations, lots of laughter, lots of SCRABBLE [and] lots of good childhood memories.

As we moved into our teenage years [and] my family moved to South Carolina, visits were less frequent, but longer. Instead of driving, we would travel by air [and] sometimes by limo between MD and SC a couple of times a year.

We’ve done a little bit of everything together: we were boy crazy teenagers; usually ending up somewhere we weren’t supposed to be; casting off t-shirts because after all if the boys can why can’t the girls; pizza and beer never mind the drinking age; prom pictures without film never to be remembered [and] probably best forgotten; the violation of privacy in my reading her diary [and] the creation of a voodoo doll resembling me and taking more than a few needles: OUCH!

We have laughed ourselves to tears with the abdominals to prove it; we have walked alongside one another through some pretty tough times; rejoiced with one another [and] grieved with one another; there have been times of distance [and] times of drawing near; there has been LIFE [and] there has been DEATH, and the threat of death; there has been thick [and] there has been thin.

Above all, there has been [and] continues to be LOVE, a great LOVE one for another.

Christy has loved me in ways and amidst circumstances that I NEVER thought we would face. She provided consistent encouragement [and] wise counsel to me as my heart failed, to my husband as he faced decisions he never envisioned having to make, to my mom through almost daily updates, to my dad through her aunt Dee like sense of humor, and to my son by welcoming him to Camp Clarksville on more than a few occasions during my stint at the Clinic.

She provided my nursing care when she was visiting me in Cleveland. I can’t tell you how loved and cared for she made me feel. She reminded me that I was still me, wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend. She told me stories about Abel with his cousins, brought pictures of them on the slip-n-slide; she read guestbook entries from our caringbridge; she prayed; she bathed me gently, lovingly; she took the time to debride the adhesive off of my skin; she found the fentanyl patch that went AWOL; she painted my nails, washed my hair, gave me facials, including exfoliation and deep pore cleansing; she laughed with me, she touched me in a way that wasn’t painful; she listened; she loved me and met me right where I was in any given moment: unforgettable, priceless.

All that NOT because she is an excellent clinical nurse? No! All that because that’s WHO she IS: LOVE laying her life down for those she loves though she actually is an excellent nurse.

So, I raise my glass with another heart full of gratitude, eyes full of tears to Christy, my cousin, my friend.

I give thanks that you were born, that we have been blessed to share our lives with one another, that there is much more to be lived before us, and that you are YOU, incredible YOU!

May our God bless you richly here, now [and] even more so in eternity for the eternal impact you, your life, and your love have had on me and my family.

Happy Birthday, CJ: enJOY, celebrate BIG, [and] celebrate EVERYTHING…

I love you: always!

Steph

PS Christy is one of the three incredible ladies of 11MagnoliaLane and I encourage you to stop by and sit a spell.

 

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