Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Leader of the Pack


Linda Schwartz is my sister. Back in the day when I was teaching high school kids Sunday school lessons, this bit of information would always bring me enormous amounts of good will and instant credibility. “You’re MZ. Linda’s brother?? How cool!!” they would say. When adults at church found out that Linda was my sister, they would look at me with a faint grin and usually say something like,
“Well, of course you are!” I’ve never quite understood that reaction, but it is what it is.

Today being her birthday, I feel compelled to say a few words about her. From the time I started the second grade until I was in the sixth grade, Linda was practically my mother. Our entire family lived in a cramped apartment in New Orleans on the campus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary where my father was enrolled. For the next three years I barely ever saw him. He went to class during the day and loaded freight onto trucks at night. My Mom took a secretary job at the printing office on campus to help ends meet, so it was left to Linda to take care of Paula and me after we got home from school. It was Linda who made me do my homework; it was Linda who fixed dinner most nights, and it was Linda who had to deal with the frantic ADHD of her 8 year old terror of a little brother. 47 years later, not much has changed.

Linda is probably the most energetic, driven person I’ve ever known. If I described a typical day in her life for you, it would be hard not to conclude that she was on some sort of illegal steroid. She takes care of her grandchildren, husband, and  children, works crazy hours as a nurse, teaches over a dozen piano students, leads her famous Praise Kids choir at church, and is the driving force behind our Dad’s round the clock care. Just writing that sentence makes me want a nap.

Somehow she keeps it all together, I just don’t understand how. I wish I could afford to send her and Bill to Hawaii for a month, but I can’t. But sometimes, I think that I should take out a line of credit and do it anyway. Linda lives the kind of life that makes other people look like lazy slugs by comparison. Like anyone else, she has her flaws, but if you know what’s good for you, you won’t ever complain about one of them to me. She’s my big sister and the leader of the Dunnevant pack, so back off!

Happy birthday, Sis.