24 Hours With My Sister Norma

Norma, driving me to the airport

For as many times as I’ve traveled to Arizona (about 5 times a year, for the past 12 years) you’d think my sister Norma would know the airport routine.  Sky Harbor Airport is user-friendly, you either get picked up on the South side or the North side. The closer she gets to the airport Norma gets her nerves all in a wad. When I arrived I called her to ask her where she would be picking me up; normally if I go to the South side, she will definitely be on the North side.

This is how Norma answered the phone: “I can’t talk because I’m listening for directions to the airport;” then she abruptly hung up. So I go to the South side and wait for the next panic call. Norma called and asked ,”I don’t know what to do! Are you at Air Canada or Southwest?” I’m so confused by the question that I answered, “I’m at door 4 on the South side.” Norma replied , “Oh My Sweet Jesus, where are you, Air Canada or Southwest?”

Norma, me and Mike

This is just the begining, because we still need to get on the freeway to get to her home. Norma panics and never knows how to transition to the 202 freeway. She always asks for my help;  as far as I’m concerned, it’s the blind leading the blind. After a few wrong turns and one missed accident, we finally arrive in one piece.

Norma is an entrepreneur; she is forever selling things on “Offer Up.” Norma had acquired a fancy trash dispense, and after one day’s posting, Norma had a prospective buyer. She needed to clean the dispenser to get it ready for the new owner. Norma came back from sanitizing the dispenser and sat next to me. All of a sudden I get a strong whiff of bleach. “Why does it smell like bleach?” I asked. Norma answered that she just cleaned the dispenser with clorox.

I needed a ride to church because it was a Holy Day Obligation, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Norma dropped me off and told me she would return once the buyer picked up the dispenser. As I was exiting the car, she mentioned that she was making chop suey for dinner. I told Norma that I would be sitting toward the back of the church.

Me and Norma, forever the little sister

By the time Norma arrived, the Mass was well under way. She sats next to me and I noticed a huge red stain on her black pants. I was thinking that maybe she had made enchilada sauce instead of the chop suey. Norma looked at me with sad disappointment in her eyes and whispered,  “I ruined my favorite pants with bleach.” I had to postpone my laugh until after Mass. My sister abuses bleach and has accumulated a small wardrobe of bleach-stained clothes.

Norma’s First Holy Communion, our mother and me

Norma was not sure if she had completed the Sacrament of First Holy Communion. This sacrament is the passage to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. While working on my Blog I came across a picture of my sister celebrating her First Holy Communion, and  after the discovery of the picture, she mentioned to me that she was attending Mass again. I must have misunderstood her because she was going to Adoration, not  Mass. Norma was sitting at the end of pew so I nudged her to go forward for communion, thinking that she had already been partaking. It had been years, and I mean years since she had received Holy Communion, and had not been to confession.

Proverbs 28:13: He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

Norma had forgotten how to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. She had her phone and keys in her hands when she extended her hands out to receive communion. The poor Eucharistic Minister (EM) did not know what to do, So Norma quickly put out one empty hand and ingested the Host. She walked over for the wine and just stood in front of the EM; they just stared at each other. Norma was under the impression that the wine was to be poured into her mouth! Finally after holding up the line, the man gently poured the wine into her mouth. I felt so bad because truly it was my fault – because I made Norma go up there .

1 John 1:9:  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness

The following day Norma had to drop  me off at the airport again. As soon as she saw the sign to the airport the panic set in: “Which way do I go? Please tell me what to do!” I pointed to the sign with the airplane descending. Honestly, it would have be safer for me if I had been dropped off at the freeway exit.

In all fairness to my sister Norma, I have the same reaction whenever I need to drop-off or pick  someone up at LAX. I need to be in the lane 5 miles ahead of time to be sure that I don’t miss the offramp.  No one can talk in the car when I’m making a lane change on the freeway, and I cannot make a left-hand turn without a loud, “Jesus, please help me!” I am never allowed to drive with any of my immediate family members, and I still don’t understand why.

If you ever need prayer, Norma is faithful and one of the strongest intercessors that I know.

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