Stop me if I’ve shared this story with you before.
It was a busy lunch crowd that had gathered in Bruegger’s on Grant that one winter day about ten years ago. My sister Princess Aurora, who had been living in Texas for the past five years, was home on a holiday visit and came downtown to have lunch. My father and I were dressed as normal ‘Burghers who by December need only a semi-heavy unbuttoned coat to ward against the cold downtown winds, whereas my sister, having become un-acclimated to the cold Pittsburgh winters, was bundled up in winter clothes borrowed from my father’s closet that morning.
A Steelers tassel cap from the 70s that was missing its tassel. An old green corduroy coat that was easily 10 sizes too big for her. A scarf to her chin. Big men’s working gloves that I think my father used to use when checking out a hot roll of steel. Ear muffs. And still she shivered. The big sissy.
At the condiments area after receiving our food trays, I was grabbing napkins, my father was grabbing spoons for soup, and my sister was trying awkwardly with still-gloved hands to rip open sugar substitute packets to stir into her coffee, when I saw Princess Aurora do a double-take at the blond woman standing next to her. A woman minding her own business. A woman hurriedly shoving a few napkins into her lunch bag.
And my sister, easily dressed like the least sane person in the room, inhaled.
I knew what was coming so I shielded my ears from the shrieking that pierced the air of the entire bagel shop.
SALLY WIGGIN SALLY WIGGIN SALLY WIGGIN SALLY WIGGIN!
Dogs in Beechview perked up all, “Arooo?”
That’s how shrill she was. How excited and completely undone she was by seeing Sally Wiggin up close and personal.
My sister was 23 at the time, so you can imagine why my father and I slowly turned on our heels to look at a blank wall behind us that had suddenly become the most interesting blank wall we had ever seen in our lives and no, we don’t know that crazy woman there screaming at Sally Wiggin like she’s just spotted dead Elvis.
Poor Sally Wiggin. Here’s this crazy person covered from head to toe, who could be hiding any number of weapons in her too large coat, jumping up and down and screaming, “SALLY WIGGIN!”
So Sally Wiggin did what anyone would do. With a smile plastered on her face, she slowly backed the heck out of the door behind her, probably praying to a million different gods that the crazy girl didn’t follow her.
And that “shrill jumping up and down and screaming” manner is exactly the way my sister reacted when I introduced her to Sally last fall.
The point of this story? I asked SALLY WIGGIN SALLY WIGGIN SALLY WIGGIN five questions.