Big Sister here again! I heard from Mel this am, while she traversed the roads of Yellowstone National Park with Mr. W by her side. She's having a great time, sends her love, and approved today's topic....The Toenail F.
What is a Toenail F, you might ask? Let's start at the beginning. We have this cousin, Big T. He is one of the funniest people I know, and is a very talented artist. He is no blood relation - he married into this circus family of ours, but you would never know that. He's just as crazy as the rest of us.
So, he ran some marathon or something, and was showing us at a family gathering, that his toenail was hanging by a thread. It was pretty gross looking, but it takes a lot to get to me, since I am a nurse. I made some flippant remark about giving it to someone as a gift, since we do like to do that sort of thing in our family. My dad got a bellybutton one year for Christmas.
Christmas comes that year, and I have long forgotten about Big T's toenail. I open this very cute little gift from him and his wife, and pulled out what appeared to be a pretty, shiny seashell necklace, hand painted with my initial. Just as I was ooohing and ahhhing over it, my cousin couldn't contain herself anymore, and said - "That's Big T's toenail." He had done a nice job of making his DNA look like a festive little charm. My retaliation the following year was a clear glass ornament, filled with kitty litter, and carefully molded Tootsie Rolls. You get the picture. My 40th birthday rolls around sometime after that, and I got a beautiful matching ring, to the toenail necklace. All I'm missing now is a bracelet. At the rate this guy loses his toenails, that should be coming soon.
One day, soon after they had their first son, I was rummaging through my purse, and saw a baggie. I figured one of my girls had stuck something in there, so I pulled it out, and there was a note in the bag from the newborn baby, about how he wanted me to have this special gift from him. His bellybutton. A little shriveled up brownish umbilical cord. A declaration of war.
I began saving anything I could find. Sorry girls, the tooth fairy has enough teeth - hand 'em over. My sister-in-law hiked Mt. Whitney, and lost both her toenails. "I'll take those, please." "Look at this giant booger I just got out of my nose, Mom. It looks like a slug." Hold on, let me get a ziploc. I had some surgery, and asked the doctor if I could please have the stitches he removed for something I was making. First time anyone ever said that to him. That crown that I had been wearing on my front tooth - I paid for it - what was the dentist going to do with it once I got the permanent implant? After about a year of saving, I was ready to make the masterpiece. I glued all the gathered items, including the bellybutton that he so graciously gave me, and adhered them to a Christmas ornament. I carefully wrapped it in a Tiffany's box, and could barely contain my excitement to watch him open it. I'm pretty sure I saw him gag. It was awesome.
This past Christmas, I knew I was screwed. Big T places a box on my lap, and my heart is beating fast, out of sheer terror. Behind the tissue, is a frame with the Toenail F. At first glance, it is a very elegant piece of art. I wasn't sure what it was a first, but it didn't look too bad. The he explained that he had been saving his toenail clippings for a full year, and mixed them with some type of gluish stuff to create his textured F. F is the initial of my last name - he's big into initials I guess. Someday when he is a famous artist, I can say that I have an original, and I am certain there will never be another like it. I have 5 months to plan my attack. Any suggestions?