It was like him to think of practical jokes to pull on his favorite aunt. The two as close as “two peas in a pod” as Debbie would always refer to them.
Debbie, a special needs child, was comfortable in the atmosphere of adults or at least people old enough to understand that her space and expectations had to be met. She was on the verge of being petrified when little children were in the room. She would bolt herself in her room until they left. But that all changed with Brian.
The first time I gingerly laid Brian across her tiny lap, he was just a week old. Her wiggling and fidgeting somehow instantly stopped and some sense of motherly love and recognition came over her. She gently stroked his face and said, “You’ll always be my favorite.”
When he was older, he sat on her lap and they watched Mister Rogers together. Both of them would throw up their shoes at the appropriate moment to follow his lead. When he was barely two, we recorded him saying, “Debbie, I love you fooour eeeeever”. She still plays this on her cassette tape, oh, did I forget to say she is still stuck in the eighties. Still, after hundreds of plays, she delights in hearing him say it.
In his early teens, Brian was still looking for new ways to kindly tease Debbie. Their bond, as strong as a deep rooted tree, was obvious to all. Although my Mom constantly scolded Brian to stop, Debbie would always yell out, “I love it when he teases me”, and so she did and so he did.
On this day, Brian respectively received permission from Grandma for his latest attempt. But there were stipulations to the acceptance of the deal. Brian wanted to get her with a whipped cream pie in the face, Three Stooge’s style. Grandma had agreed but only if Debbie could be fully covered with some type of clothing protection. To achieve that, we thought we would tell her she had to have her haircut. We always had her sit in the middle of the kitchen with and full apron over her. For further protection, my Mom put towels around her neck. Poor kid.
Meanwhile, Brian had gone with friends to get the whipping cream. We continued to pretend to cut Deb’s hair and arrange things in the pretense of Brian’s arrival. She wasn’t having any of it. She kept saying, “Come on, already!”
We had the disposable aluminum pie plate ready to be filled with the whipping cream and we had the camera ready. We were all quietly laughing except for Debbie.
Brian finally arrived with the prank substance. Here’s where the problem ensued. Instead of the creamy, dreamy can of whipping cream, he had purchased frozen Cool Whip. Besides the 20 below temperatures outside, we would never have kept Deb sitting on the chair long enough for him to go back to the store.
What to do now? Brian was not letting this opportunity pass. As we didn’t have a microwave back then, he ran to get the hair dryer and into the garage (out of sight of Deb) he went. There he went over and over again running the dryer over the Cool Whip trying to get it to defrost. I kept peeking in to see the progress and Debbie, poor Deb, was wondering (when if ever) her haircut was going to begin.
Finally, it began to thaw (not into the delicate frothy whip cream that comes out of a can) but into a slushy, watery, sticky mess now poured into the pie plate.
With great fanfare, Brian snuck back into the kitchen with pie plate behind his back and let her have it smack in the face. What a mess! Instead of the desired movie affect, it was just a bunch of goo running off her face.
“Oh, Brian!” Debbie yelled, as she proceeded to peel the muck off her face. The five of us in the kitchen, all equally let our collective moans out. So ended the Cool Whip Caper.
We have the silly pictures to look back on and Debbie talks of it with delight. Brian still initiates shenanigans and Debbie still loves it.