Tag Archives: memories

Saying Goodbye to One Fine Ass

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Saying Goodbye to One Fine Ass

festus6Winnie the Pooh said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”  This quote sums up exactly how the folks around the Thurman farm have been feeling this week.  The legendary, elderly, clever, entertaining, dirty, scruffy, arthritic donkey, Festus, gave up the ghost yesterday and took a little piece of our hearts with him.

Festus was my hero from day one.  It has been nearly five years since our family left the town life and migrated to life on my husband’s family farm.  The horse and I got off on the wrong foot and I had a turbulent relationship with the mice who invaded my kitchen.  There was the incidental barn cat breeding fiasco, the introduction to the electric fence, and there remains a cow who stalks me and constantly tries to start shit with me.  But Festus, we were tight from day one.  Upon being introduced, I was told how his main function on the farm was to keep the coyotes away from the cows. I don’t know if this is just crap they were feeding me because I don’t really know the truths and myths of farm life, but I didn’t care.  There is only ONE thing I hate worse than that bitch-ass mean cow and that would be coyotes.  I knew right away Festus and I were going to be fast friends.

Festus was old; at least 35.  He was an old ass, but also a wise ass.  He couldn’t get around very well the last few years, his old bones were stiff.  The spring may have been gone from his step, but that ornery twinkle was there until the end.   Here are just a few of the highlights of our friend, Festus:

  1. Peppermints were the way to his heart. The old ass loved apples, carrots, and sugar cubes, but nothing made him happier than when someone trudged out to the field with pockets full of cellophane wrapped peppermint goodness to share with him.  And nothing pissed him off more than when you showed up empty handed.  He was an ass with expectations.  After nuzzling pockets upon approach, he would quickly determine if you were bearing gifts worthy of his company or if you were a human disappointment to be ignored.
  2. He was well equipped. When the little twin cousins, Carter and Caden, were visiting the farm, they excitedly announced to their mom, Jody, that Festus was having a baby.  In additional conversation with the little fellas, they announced that “Festus had a leg sticking out of his belly, so he MUST be having a baby.”  Imagine how hard it was explaining to them that is was not a leg but rather his giant donkey dong.  Old Festus set the bar very high for these youngsters.

    Carter and Caden with Festus

    Carter and Caden with Festus

  3. He was not afraid to use what the good Lord gave him. Festus was really old. He walked stiff-legged and preferred to lay around in the sun most of the time.  His range of motion was limited and so he didn’t move around a great deal and he certainly didn’t move anywhere fast.  Except that one time…when the neighbor’s Jenny (that is what they call girl donkeys FYI, not her actual name. I don’t think Festus even got her name) was all hot and bothered and prancing her fine ass on the other side of the fence.  Perhaps in his prime he would have jumped the fence for this fine piece of Jenny, but he was way past his prime.  He did, however, manage to barrel through the fence, have his way with the sultry temptress from greener pastures, and then collapse in his post-coital bliss.  The only thing he was missing was a cigarette.  He was so tuckered out by his escapade Uncle Bob had to drive to the neighbor’s farm and load his bad ass on a trailer and haul him home.  Festus was not ashamed and he got more than one, “Atta boy, Festus” from my son, husband and other male inhabitants of the farm (filthy animals).
  4. He sometimes had to say he was sorry. On not one but two different occasions, Jody encountered Festus when he wasn’t on his best behavior.  She claims that she was giving him treats and he bit her.   Jody is a farm girl and knows how to saddle and ride things and drive tractors. She knows how to round up cows and raise steers and all that jazz.  So, she definitely knows how to give an ass a treat.  I talked to him after the first incident and he said he was sorry.  After the second time, I started to think she was either showing up without the proper treat or using peppermint scented hand lotion.  Festus wasn’t mean, but as stated above, he had expectations.
  5. He always was excited to see you. It didn’t matter if you hadn’t visited in a day or several weeks, Festus greeted you with his one of a kind, high decibel, uniquely his own, welcome bray.  While I could try to explain it to you, there really aren’t words to adequately do it proper justice.  You can click on the video below to experience a greeting Festus style.  Loosely translated, he is saying:  Hello, my friend.  I have missed you.  I love you.  You better have peppermints. Get over here and hug my shaggy ass”:

 

 

Festus, you were one fine ass.  Thank you for making us smile.  You will be missed.

 

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Sleeping with Stella

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Sleeping with Stella

I am a chicken. I attribute this cowardice condition to the vastness of my imagination. Adulthood was supposed to equip me with rationale, logic, and grownup perspective. Yet, I am plagued by things that go bump in the night. Regularly, I find myself being chased home by wild coyotes when caught after sundown on an evening run. The shadows along the woods taunt me with the unseen creatures of the night. My dreams are often interrupted by screaming mountain lions, rabid wolves, and an occasional Sasquatch lurking just beyond the trees behind our house. My body rests, but my mind refuses.

It is a state of ridiculousness, which my effort at reason cannot move past. In contrast, there are things I should be afraid of, which I am not. My sincere trust in humanity as a whole could be considered a liability. Constantly on guard for the lone savage wolf stalking me as a walk on the trails cut through the woods, my guard is slack when it comes to my fellow bipedal homo-sapiens. Seldom am I aware of my surroundings, while walking in a dimly lit parking garage. The random stranger asking for directions doesn’t make me wary. My car is often unlocked and sometimes my keys can be found dangling in the ignition. My shopping cart is left unattended with my purse splayed open as I browse the aisles. Trust, even when it is soaking with carelessness, can be broken.

Two weeks ago, as I sparred with the ominous beasts in my dreams, someone was breaking into our vehicles parked in our driveway. We awoke to find that our cars had been ransacked. Unfamiliar hands had rummaged through our consoles, purses, and glove compartments, grabbing and carrying off miscellaneous personal possessions. In their wake they left us feeling vulnerable, empty, and violated. The emotion I wanted to boil to the surface and spill out of me was anger, but it wouldn’t come. As I stood and wondered what a thief was going to do with a purse that had my last name embroidered on it, there remained with me a stifling sense of sadness.

Many of the items taken have made their way back to us. Some have not. My purse was found along a gravel road not far from our house. My son’s driver’s license, college ID and bank card were found by an acquaintance as he was running in an area about six miles from where we live. A backpack was found along the highway along with two of my son’s college textbooks. There are several expensive textbooks, a wallet and some other items which are probably rotting in a ditch in some random location. There was little cash to be taken, but what little there was is gone.

The whole situation should have spurred a sense of fury in the audacity of brazen thievery. While it did springboard a campaign to ratchet up our security, it brought me around to a place I least expected. I found myself immersed in a sense of gratitude. Instead of being consumed by fury of the violation, I found myself focusing on the simple fact that these things were just that—things. Though thieves were among us, the “us” remained unscathed, intact, and well. While my sense of security was dented, the reminder to not hang on too tightly to those things which can be replaced and to hold dearly to those which cannot did not go unacknowledged.

There are so many things in my life that I will never get back. Never again will I hold my sleeping babies with their warm breath sweet on my cheek. There will never be another night of playing outdoors in my bare feet of summer and hearing my mom yell it is time to come inside. I will never get back those wilted dandelions offered up to me from the gap-tooth grinning face of a child who still thinks I am the entire world. Driving the back roads for hours with good friends, with nothing more to occupy our carefree hearts other than the next song playing on the radio are moments gone a lifetime ago. Gone are the days of sitting on the porch with my grandpa hanging on every word of the tales he would spin for me. I can’t go back to the first ‘I love you’ my husband spoke to me or feel the tears he cried as he held his newborn son. Time, it seems, is the real thief. But what time has stolen away hasn’t left holes in the fabric of my existence. What remains is a patchwork of memories being pieced together forming a quilt that is my life. No thief in the dark of night can take the treasures locked securely away in the depths of my heart.

The fear of coyotes, chupacabra, and Bigfoot has not abated. The cars are locked and so are the doors. My faith in mankind is, for the most part, still intact. Life is not meant to be lived instella the unrest of worry over things. Stella, is my little Smith & Wesson .38 and she provides me a sense of comfort. The world, after all, isn’t nearly as scary when I am sleeping with Stella.

 

 

A Full Moon on Family Cove

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A Full Moon on Family Cove
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Leslie and Grace

There is a place where everyone at the Lake of the Ozarks goes to party. It is simply called ‘Party Cove’. It is a place of ill repute, where drinking is in excess, clothes are minimal and pretty much any form of debauchery goes. It goes without saying, that our ‘Party Cove’ days are essentially behind us. While vacationing at the Lake, we choose to frequent more a family friendly environment. It is simply called ‘Family Cove’.

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Me, Kevin, Garret, and Bobby

Our friends, Bobby and Leslie, have a house on the Lake of the Ozarks. We have been fortunate that they frequently extend an invitation to our family to share in the summer fun at the lake. We ride jet skis, paddle boat, swim, fish, and just soak up the sun. On one of our summer trips to the lake, we all piled into the boat and headed for an afternoon of relaxing in Family Cove.
Upon arriving at the cove, Bobby and Leslie recognized several other boaters. As is customary, the lines were tossed and the boats tethered together so make one huge floating vessel. There were several people in the cove whom I also knew, but most I did not. Boating folks are a very friendly bunch and it was quickly apparent that we were all welcome to join in the fun. There were several people already bobbing in the water on floatation devices, sunglasses on, and beers in hand. The kids were jumping from the decks of boats into the water, the life jackets bringing them quickly to the surface. Good, clean, fun in the sun; until it got ugly.

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Kevin, Tracy, Leslie, and Me

We had only been there just a few minutes and we had just tied up to the other boats. Most of our crew had already gotten into the water and were making their way to the others gathered in the front of boats. I, being extremely self-conscious of my swimsuit body, had hung back, waiting for an opportunity to slide into the water without being seen. I should probably point out that my hesitation and my body image issues had no doubt got the attention of that bitch, Karma. Based on the series of events about to unfold, I would have been better off doing a cannon ball off the bow of the boat into the unsuspecting crowd of lake people.
I had decided the coast was clear to enter the water and I headed for the back of the boat. Bobby and another guy I didn’t know were the only two people I could see and I decided to slip down the ladder and into the lake. My plan went off without a hitch…EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT IT TURNED INTO A FAMILY COVE SIDE SHOW!! My plan was to step onto the ladder facing out and sit on the first wrung and slide into the water. As I launched my entry, my swimsuit bottoms got hooked onto the ladder. I must have started to panic, because my feet slipped out from under me and I could hear and feel my swim suit rip. I wiggled and squirmed and I could not get myself free.
There I was–just hanging there. I was suspended from the ladder, face down and bare ass up, hanging by what remained of my bikini bottoms. Bobby was the first to be alerted to my unfortunate situation and he swam over and asked, “Karri, what are you doing?” (like I was purposefully hanging there with my ass in the air).  He was trying not to laugh, but I can only imagine what he was witnessing. It was funny.
“I’m stuck,” I told him, still just hanging there on the ladder with absolutely every shred of dignity dripping into the great expanse of the lake. Being a good sport (and probably eager to get this half-naked freak flag off his boat) , Bobby and his friend came to my rescue and they managed to hoist me up enough to untangle me from my snare and I slipped into the water.
My swim suit bottoms were in shreds and I had to tie the pieces together in the crotch and spent the entire afternoon in the water for fear of additional exposure. It was all so completely ridiculous and humiliating that there was nothing I could do but just laugh, because it was also hilarious. I was teased relentlessly: “She was only at Family Cove for five minutes and was showing her ass” and “Hey, Karri, if you were going to swing off the back of the boat without your bottoms on, you should have gone to Party Cove”.
Just like the girl with the little bitty teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini, I eventually had to come out of the water. I put my legs through the arm holes of a life jacket, and Kevin lifted me up into the boat, where I was able to find adequate cover. I think I was fortunate that not very many people actually witnessed my full moon over Family Cove (that is what I tell myself anyway).

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It’s hard to take myself too seriously after being suspended from the back of a boat with my rear end bared to the world. Body image is something I have struggled with my whole life and I know there have been many times I have let my hangups hinder me from enjoying life to its fullest. I am a product of the airbrushed generation and it has been difficult for me to accept the many imperfections that are me–physically and otherwise. The older I get, the more ripples, bulges, sags and bags there are to contend with each and every day. But the older I get, the more I realize that I only get this one life to live. I can either hide in the boat and miss out on making memories or I can hang over the water by my drawers and laugh ’til it hurts. One life–one chance–there is no time to spend hiding in the boat. Life is meant to be lived (but with my bottoms ON).

Watch for Falling Rock

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It was an ordinary road sign; A warning of caution for the possibility of ‘Falling rockRock’. For me, it was memory triggered—a story from long ago that resonates with the little girl I once was. It was a time when my heart was curious, untainted and not yet scarred cynical by the jarring of life’s potholes.

Before I was old enough to attend school and many summers of my youth, my grandparents took me camping. We would wind through the foothills and mountains of the Ozarks to lakes with names such as Wappapello, Bull Shoals, and Table Rock. We would ride in the cab of my Grandpa’s yellow Chevy pickup truck down the endless twists, turns, and hills of the two-lane highways. The windows would always be down and there was a worn spot in the floorboard where I could see the highway passing beneath us. There was always a pouch of Red Man tobacco in the side pocket of the door and a tin can just beneath Grandpa’s seat, which he used as a spittoon. The smell of the tobacco in the foil pouch is something so ingrained into my childhood that just typing the words creates an olfactory memory so strong it makes my heart ache. For me, getting there was a huge part of the adventure.

My grandparents, however, probably remember it a little differently. In fact, here are some endearing things I remember my grandma saying during our ‘adventures’: “You move around more than a worm in hot ashes.”

“If you don’t sit still, I am going to sit you out on the side of the road and I might not even pick you up on our way back through.”

And the number one thing that my dear sweet grandma liked to say to me is:

“You are worse than black chicken $hit. Has anyone ever told you that, because it’s true!” (Why yes, Grandma. I believe you told me that at mile-marker one-thirty-two. Right before you threatened to put me on the side of the road).

 

Evidently, I liked to chatter. Evidently, I chattered a great deal.   Grandpa would also eventually tire of my endless prattle and intervene right before grandma traded me to a band of gypsies for a one eared billy goat (her idea not mine). Grandpa’s most genius and long-standing method of stifling me on a road trip was telling me the legend of ‘Falling Rock.”

 

Grandpa: Poncho, can you read? (Grandpa called me poncho because I always wore a little blue poncho. It was the seventies.)

Me: Grandpa, I am five years old. Of course I can read.

Grandpa: Well, tell me what this sign says up here.gpa

Me: It says, “Watch for Falling Rock”

Grandpa: Do you know why that sign is there?

Me: I don’t know. Because rocks might fall out of the sky and land on us.

Grandpa: Don’t tell me you have never heard the story of Falling Rock.

Me: Tell me.

Grandpa: Are you sure you have never heard it? I thought everyone knew about Falling Rock.

Me: No! I haven’t! Tell me, Grandpa. Please!

Grandpa: Many years ago, there was a brave Indian Chief. He had a large tribe. He never had a son. He only had one daughter. He named her Falling Rock and she was the Indian Princess and was loved and adored by the entire tribe. The Indian chief loved her more than he loved anything in the whole wide world. Falling Rock loved to explore the streams and caves around her village, but one day when she was about….how old are you, Poncho.

Me: Grandpa, I am five years old.

Grandpa: Yes, she was just about your age. Five years old, maybe six at the time…well she wandered too far from camp and she got lost. The Indian Chief and the tribe and even other tribes in the land searched high and low for Falling Rock, but she was nowhere to be found. The Indian Chief spent the rest of his life searching for her and he put up these signs along the road to remind people to keep an eye out for his lost Indian princess.

Me: He is still looking for her?

Grandpa: Well, the chief died of a broken heart, but his tribe is still around here and they promised they would never quit looking for her. Do you think you could keep an eye out for her while we drive??

Me: Yes!!! I will watch for her.

Grandpa: You have to watch very closely and pay attention. She could be anywhere along here.

 

And so it was…I dutifully scanned the tree lines, the ditches, and passing barns for the little Indian Princess. This was our routine and we continued this way as we would wind down the Missouri highways. I held onto this notion of a lost Indian princess long past the point my logical mind knew better. It was something I believed in longer than Santa or the Easter Bunny. It was time and space and sights and smells that I longed to keep alive. Maybe that’s why I kept searching for her for so long. It wasn’t about finding the lost Indian girl, it was about preserving something fleeting that I knew was eventually going to pass.

It was an ordinary road sign.   Sometimes the ordinary things fill in the spaces of my heart in extraordinary ways.

The Broken Swan this Side of Heaven

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My family had to say goodbye to a fantastic lady today. After 95 years, my grandmother, Violet Stephens, ended her journey on this earth. This special lady left this world just as a person of her caliber should have—surrounded by people who loved and adored her. I wasn’t there when she passed, but I did love and adore her. I was fortunate that she spent the last year living in the nursing facility where I work. So, I got to see her and hug her and kiss her anytime I want. She was precious.

The truth is, she wasn’t even my biological grandma. I was a step. Sometimes that can be complicated. I was 13 years old when I became her grandchild and there was little else more complicated than I was at that age (except for maybe ages 15-19). It wasn’t complicated for Grandma. She just lumped my sister and me in with the rest of them and loved us like she had been there when they cut our cords. I would like to say it was because we were so special, but that wasn’t is at all. It was because she was special.

Grandma was a gentile sprit and kind nearly to a fault. She was the type of person who would go out of her way for other people and wouldn’t expect anything in return. She was someone I didn’t want to disappoint, because she was just such a doll. Once, when my sister and I were spending the night with her and my grandpa, she brought us a flashlight. She said, “Girls, I am giving you this flashlight so you won’t get lost if you have to get up in the night to use the bathroom.” I can’t really capture how endearing this gesture was. The bathroom was literally three steps outside the room where we were sleeping. The house was tiny and cozy and there was exactly zero chance of us getting lost. She was precious.

There was something I should have told Grandma and I didn’t. This isn’t like me at all, because I am pretty forthcoming about my plethora of blunders. I was sixteen and attending a family gathering at Grandma’s. Nearly everyone had congregated in the backyard and I had made my way to the sit on the front step. I was sitting next to a concrete planter that was fashioned into the shape of a swan. It was full of blooming red flowers and I casually reached up and put my hand around the beak of the swan. A good-sized portion of the beak broke off into my hand. Looking back, I know that Grandma would have just brushed it aside had I taken the beak to her and told her what had happened. But I didn’t. I did what I sometimes do in sticky situations–I improvised. I used the gum I was chewing to stick the beak back into place. I am normally not a good secret keeper, but I kept this one for a long time.

Twenty-six years have passed and as of yesterday, that swan with the bum beak was still sitting in front of Grandma’s house. I came clean to my sisters and my step-dad a few years ago and they have all teased me about telling Grandma I broke her swan planter. They never told either. I should have told her. It wouldn’t have mattered to her. It mattered to me.

A few months ago Grandma became very sick and we had to take her to the hospital. I went and sat with her until my aunts and uncles could get there. She was weak and barely able to stay awake or talk. Several times she opened her eyes and I would smile and say, “Hi there, Sleeping Beauty.” Each time that day she said the same thing to me: You aren’t my real grandchild. You aren’t my great-grandchild. You are a really great grandchild. She had never said that to me before that day and never said it to me again. I should have told her then I broke her swan.

At her funeral, my mom (who is a dynamic speaker) shared that my Grandma had left a note to her and my step-dad on a visit to their home about fifteen years ago. It was also something Grandma hadn’t spoken to them about before or since she left it. It was a request to have the following poem read at her funeral:

“Miss Me But Let Me Go”

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little-but not too long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that we once shared
Miss me-but let me go

For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone.
It’s all part of the Master’s plan
A step on the road to home

When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds
Miss me but let me go.

Author: Anonymous

My Grandma didn’t have many worldly possessions. She didn’t need many. She was content in her family, faith and community. I am a step. Sometimes that gets complicated, but I have decided to ask for the broken swan. I think it would look lovely on my porch with the flowers blooming and a broken beak. Moreover, it will serve to remind me to strive to be more like her. Maybe I can choose to focus on the good in people, to serve others more and to put God and family first. I get that wrong a lot of the time. She got it right. If I am entrusted with the planter, I hope Grandma knows it will be the most treasured broken swan this side of heaven.

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We Were Once Just Little White Girls

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We Were Once Just Little White Girls

Yesterday, I was presented with one of the most wonderful and uniquely poignant Birthday gifts I have ever received. The gift was special for several reasons. First of all, it wasn’t my Birthday. Secondly, it was a quirky sentimental gift that holds memories from what now seems like a lifetime ago. Thirdly, (is thirdly a word, it doesn’t sound correct)…anyway, thirdly, out of the 7 billion people roaming the planet there is only one other soul who understands the reason I spontaneously laughed and cried and laughed some more when I received the gift and that person is my sister, Kim. She is also the giver of the gift, the keeper of my secrets, and the sharer of my earliest memories.
I am sure by now the suspense is KILLING you! I received a vintage 1972 Mattel Tuff Stuff toy shopping cart in mint condition (original plastic food included)!!! I am not excited about receiving this gift because I am a collector of toys or have an affinity for miniature shopping carts. The wellspring of emotions is from a childhood shared by two little girls, who embarked on thousands of adventures together (without ever leaving the backyard) and literally put 288,000 miles on a 1972 Mattel Tuff Stuff toy shopping cart, while never once using it for pretend shopping!

Note: Please don’t be abashed by the title of this blog. Although my sister and I were actually once little Caucasian girls that is not context in which I am using the ‘White’ word. Our maiden name is White and thus my referral to being little White girls.
Perhaps the greatest thing about childhood is having someone you love completely in which to share it. In this instance, I am truly fortunate. But the truth is, I didn’t always feel this way. In fact, Kim’s birth was the first devastating thing to happen to me. Although I had nine months to prepare for the “Coming of Kim”, her arrival hit me hard and fast. You see, I had this really great gig as an only child. My mom had suffered several miscarriages and had tried unsuccessfully for years to have a child. Not to brag or anything, but I was an answer to her prayers. Mom describes the first few years of my life as me being the center of her universe and what’s not to love about being the center of someone’s universe?? Oh, wait, I know, when someone comes along and shoves you into orbit!!! This, in my mind, was exactly what Kim did to me by being born!!!
Eventually, however, after all the fussing and cooing over the new baby died down and my two attempts at trying to get rid of her (only one resulted in an actual trip to the hospital and stitches to her lip) failed, I gradually accepted the fact that I was going have to learn to live with her. Once she grew out of the adorable infant stage and was actual kid-size, things started to turn around. She wasn’t perfect, but I think I have established that was pretty much a two-way street. So, to be fair, here are some things that made me a not-so-perfect sister growing up:
I was mean and I cheated at every game we played.
I cut the pigtails off of her doll
I tricked her into doing my chores, regularly.
I used my high-octane imagination to terrorize her (i.e. the light from the smoke detector was actually an eye that watched everything she did and the hip-waders in our parents’ closet contained a ghost
I made her pee in a trashcan and then told on her
When playing hide-and-seek, I wouldn’t look for her and she would stay hidden FOREVER
I burnt her nose with a yellow Starburst that I had melted in the microwave
To clarify, Kim had some quirks as well:
She didn’t talk until she was full into toddler-hood and then when she did start talking, there wasn’t a human alive who could understand her gibberish
Her innate gullibility made her exceptionally pliable
Regardless of how much I insisted and offered descriptions, she was never ever able to see my imaginary friend, Jody.
She killed my fish when I was at camp claiming “they were cold so I put hot water in their bowl and they all turned upside down”.
Differences and squabbles aside, the endless hours of escapades as playmates are the summation of nearly every happy childhood memory I had buried like a time capsule in my heart. The shopping cart opened the door to the memory of our yesterdays and like a string of dominos tipping one into the next, came the stories of two little girls wiling away days brimming with imagination. The orange handle of the shopping cart was quickly discarded and we used a crushed velvet 70s green pillow in the cart, so we could ride in comfort. And ride we did. The shopping cart was used as a horse drawn carriage for when we were the Ingalls family and needed to go to the Olson’s Mercantile for some sugar or yard goods. It was a school bus for taking and dropping off each other when we played school. It also served as a get-a-way car, a race car, a crop harvester, an ambulance, a cage for our cat, and also the actual way E.T. was able to get home.
We may have only been little White girls, but we accomplished BIG things. We turned a full-size canopy bed into an ocean fishing vessel and successfully fended off Orca the Killer Whale. We won consecutive gold medals in the driveway and the kitchen for ice skating, while wearing our matching tennis shoe roller-skates. Each of us pulled through several anthrax outbreaks, without any help from Doc Baker (we had many Little House on the Prairie inspired adventures). We rode bikes, ran barefoot, played stickball and made a clubhouse out of anything we could find. There wasn’t anything we couldn’t tackle together. We were legends in our own minds.
The fun I had sharing a childhood with my sister is by far one of the gems in my life, but it pales in comparison to the bond we forged during the not-so-fun times. When we lost a pet or a loved one or one of us got our butt beat (usually me) there wasn’t another person capable of providing the other comfort except I for her and she for me. Probably the most difficult time was when our parents divorced and our world shifted. Everything familiar and comfortable and safe was skewed. Everything ,that is, except for one common denominator…I was still hers and she was still mine and whatever we faced during that time we faced it together.
Thank you, Kim, for this exceptional gift. Thank you for knowing my fears, short-comings, quirks and glitches and loving me anyway. Thank you for helping me to slay giant killer whales and nursing me through the fevers of anthrax. Thank you for supporting my dreams, drying my tears and letting me wear your underpants during emergencies. I am blessed to have shared a childhood with someone so remarkable (and resilient). We can never return to the time of innocence where we were content in being just little White girls, but as the seasons of our life continue to change, you are and forever will be, my sister.

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