My sister Lisa is a developmentally disabled adult in her early 60’s. She’s a delight in so many ways – a savant when it comes to family memories (good and bad) and she’s quite the connoisseur of pop culture and trivia. Don’t test her knowledge of classic TV from the seventies or eighties…her magical brain is like a lock box of celebrity this-and-that. But still…given her intellectual challenges (born with brain damage at birth, surviving as a preemie when no one thought she would) Lisa can get a little mixed up with details from time to time and I’m learning I need be aware of her emerging tendences to creatively (but not maliciously) swap and pair details from TV-land with real life. I’ve written about Lisa a couple of times, if you want to peek into more of her story but that’s the shortest summary I can offer…as a prelude to something silly.
While prepping our Thanksgiving feast last week, Lisa and I decided to watch the latest epic “Elvis” film…the Baz Luhrmann hot mess (sorry, I should’ve said “spoiler alert” first) that rendered me nearly helpless in the kitchen. Is THAT Tom Hanks…really Tom Hanks? At first, I was mesmerized by the fat suit and then…his bizarre Dutch-Southern U.S. accent in his portrayal of Colonel Tom Parker? I needed to wander closer to the screen – more than once (dare-devil style with biscuit dough all over my hands) to confirm what I saw/heard. And apologies again if you watched the film and loved it. Parts of it were cool…who doesn’t love period set-design and costuming? Austin Butler as Elvis? Pretty amazing…but the story? I’m not sure how Baz wrapped it up because Lisa and I bailed with about 30 minutes remaining.
Lisa nodded when I asked if we should say adios to Elvis and quipped, “Yeah, I don’t need to see the end. Elvis dies on the toilet, right?” 😉 So we swapped in holiday music and said goodbye to the oddball movie and turned it off. Now THAT was a rare occurrence. Lisa and I love films, generally of all sorts, and I can’t think of the last movie we ‘walked out on’ – whether from the comfort of the family room or in a theatre. We stick it out…you know…our mutual admiration of creative efforts, if not the finished product.
As we settled back into the mess in the kitchen, I was still processing the potpourri of Elvis factoids that flew out of Lisa as we started the film. Here’s where I need to be careful. My sweet sister – functioning at the intellectual level of a forever eight-year-old – can be incredibly reliable and accurate with fun facts and celebrity trivia. BUT, if she’s on a roll, she can pillage and pilfer “facts” that only exist in her head. On occasion, she’ll embellish and/or pick a detail from one story and attach it to whatever the current convo is about. It’s hard to explain…am I making sense? (Nod if yes. If no…it’s okay to stop reading here. I won’t be mad.)
One of those fun-facts-offered-as-Lisa’s-very-own-Elvis-trailer-preview-reel was this: “Vicki, did you know Elvis had a twin?” We were setting up stations in the kitchen for biscuit-making, stuffing, and pie prep and maybe I misheard her, I thought. Color me dubious…this was a tidbit I’d never heard about. I gave Lisa a look and said, “Are you sure?” And she replied with a little defiance and pride, “Yes, yes” she said, “I know lots of things other people don’t pay attention to.”
True enough, I thought, that’s my Lisa and dontcha know a few minutes later, the movie tended to the topic of Elvis’ twin. I might’ve missed all that was shared – I think it was a scene with Elvis and his mother. I should probably go back and look again but I know what I heard. Lisa was right! Feeling vindicated despite my doubting look, Lisa shouted, “See – see – they just mentioned his twin in the movie.” I was gob smacked.
Lisa did it again! I paused and gave her well-deserved praise. “That’s awesome…you’re right…you pick up on fun facts that a lot of us miss! Good job, Lisa.” She was pleased as punch with herself…I could see it as color rushed to her cheeks. Flushed with pride – literally.
Maybe she figured she was on a roll? After that ‘twin win’ and the good vibes she must’ve felt, Lisa jumped into kitchen duty with gusto, especially enthusiastic as she mixed the stuffing…adding the butter into the dry bread. More landed on the floor (to pooch Sadie’s delight) than remained in the bowl but I didn’t care. The hilarious part was Lisa’s monologue. “Yes” Lisa repeated several times, “Elvis DID have a twin! And did you know he named his daughter Lisa Marie after me? I think mom knew Elvis and they both liked the name.”
Lisa’s rosy cheeks were more crimson than flushed at this point…I wondered if that was a ‘tell’ that she knew she was telling a whopper? I’m not sure. What I do know is that our mother never met Elvis…but Lisa’s feel-good moment, attaching herself to Elvis’ life and his daughter was fun for her. Rather than wreck her vibe I just said, “Wow…that’s hard to believe…but it’s a good story.”
And Lisa? She knew I knew she was playing fast and loose – embellishing real life with fabricated fun. She smiled and said, “I know, right? I think I’ll tell Rosie. She believes all of my stories.” God Bless Lisa’s bestie, Rosie. They’ve lived together for years, and Rosie doesn’t give a rat’s patootie whether Lisa’s “stories” are fully factual or not. The “Lisa Show” can be great entertainment for Rosie…and sometimes for me.
Hugs to you – from me and from Lisa!
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