Brian Bernhards

No matter how dreary any situation, my sister was a master at providing some kind of comic relief. It came in a variety of forms—making funny faces at me, giving some sort of pep talk, holding me, or recounting some kind of funny story—she usually had a few of those up her sleeve.

So it is my sincere hope that in speaking to you all today, I am able to offer you what she gave to me.

There are a lot of stories to pick from, from the time when we were little up until just a few years ago.

The first thing I can remember is that Jenny liked to repeatedly show me the contents of her food after ample chewing time. It usually ended up in me storming off in a fit of frustration to my room. But it was all good brotherly sisterly love.

 For some reason I kinda think Jenny might have really liked to have had a sister. For she fancied dressing me up like a girl. My hair was strategically wrapped in a hair tie that shot my pig tail straight up. She found the best accessories for me, too: A purse that hung down to my feet when placed around my shoulder and a beautiful rose dress. One of my mother’s bras with a few of her socks stuffed in the insides. The scary part is that she must have done a great job, because most of the time when my friends saw the pictures they didn’t recognize me—but maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.

(At this point in the service, Brian held up an equally-large, poster blow-up of the photo below.)




Then there was that one time when I put a fake black rubber snake in her bed. I waited anxiously outside her room with a grin of evil anticipation—much like the grin of Mr. Burns from the Simpsons. Then the much awaited yelp came from her room, and she moved her bedding up to my parents’ room to stay the night—pay back for showing me all her food.

Or there was that time when we were both enjoying the beautiful weather of a fine Maine day. For some puzzling reason, which I’ll never know, my sister decided to pick up a rock and throw it down the hill that led to the dock. I guess she just didn’t see my grandma standing on the dock with her binoculars—it whopped her right in the back of the head.

There was that time when we were late to a restaurant and I swear she must have performed the most awful parking job I had ever seen. On the way back out she spotted a couple of hot guys, “stud muffins,” (as she referred to them) sitting at the table outside the Starbucks right in front of the car. She gave me that Jen look, grabbed me by the hand, walked straight past the car, and we waited around the corner for a good 10 minutes for them to leave before we got into the car.

But I’d like to share a little more meaningful story with you all that is most dear to my heart.

Jenny had just arrived back at our house from a party at her friend’s house. I was in third grade, and she was in seventh grade. She cheerfully came in the door with a bright smile on her face and asked me to accompany her into my parent’s newly furnished room. “Hang tight Bri—I’ll be right back,” she said. She shortly returned with a big blue and gray sleeping bag. She looked at me and said “my friends an I were playing this really cool game, someone gets in the sleeping bag standing up, they get spun around really fast, and then someone pushes them over, wanna try, Bri?” I thought this game to be a little devious, but I gave it a try anyway. She spun me around and around and gave me a good shove. I lost my balance and my head smashed right against the wall leaving a dent over an inch in depth. Blood was coming out all over the place and my sister went screaming downstairs.

Now, normally, this situation would be perfectly under control—except Jen didn’t really pick an opportune time. There was over a foot and a half of snow and the blizzard of 96’ was still going strong. Not only that, out of the three cars we had, none of them had four wheel drive. We ended up borrowing the neighbor’s vehicle and I came home later that night with a couple of stitches in my head. When I opened the door I saw my sister’s droopy eyes, she had been crying a lot. She told me to follow her back upstairs again. I followed--this time with a little more caution. When I got upstairs I saw she had made out a bed for me to sleep on my parent’s floor, and there was a twenty dollar bill resting on top of the pillow.

 Now, eleven years later, I still have that scar on the top middle part of my head. Sometimes you can see it right after I get a hair cut. And now, I am ever so thankful that she shoved me into the wall that night.  I have a permanent mark on my body that will always remind me of her, and I think it’s the most beautiful part of me.