I’m ready to climb the Brother Branch of the Crazie Family Tree. If you need to get caught up, click here.
Sibling Position #2 – Two Years Older Than Me
It was a beautiful late-summer day under a cobalt Kansas sky, littered with puffy white clouds. Mike, a ten-year-old ready for a day as Davy Crockett, carried a BB gun and Dad’s dented army canteen hung from his belt. I was ready for a day as a bookworm and carried a faded copy of Mary Poppins.
We took a short-cut through the freshly mowed hay field and hiked until we reached the creek that ran through the middle of our farm. The last heavy rain cut a perfect bench out of the bank halfway down a steep slope. I tumbled down and, sweeping the dust from my book, settled into a pool of sunlight to read. Mike ran around killing clods of dirt with his BB gun.
He finished his job of protecting the farm and slid down the bank to sit next to me. We took swigs of metallic tasting water from the canteen and I asked Mike about important things.
–Does Romper Room really have a magic mirror? Mike said yes, that Miss Connie called his name several times. I was crushed because even though she’d looked directly at me from the television, she’d never called mine.
–Can we start a club where no big sisters are allowed? He said, sure, we’ll start it right now and we shook on it.
–Will Mom and Dad ever quit arguing? Mike paused and because he’s always honest with me, said he didn’t think so.
After his last answer, we sat quietly contemplating our life, filled with times of shouting followed by hugs and laughter.
“Shhhhh!” Mike grabbed my arm. “Did you hear that?”
“Hear what?” I listened as the leaves on the ground above our head rustled. “Sheesh.” I sneered. “What a scaredy cat. It’s just leaves.”
“No it’s not. Listen.” Again the leaves rattled.
We stood up to investigate and came eye to eye with a rattlesnake. “Snake!” I screamed.
Mike fired off a couple of BBs, then took hold of my hand and pulled me through the creek. We raced all the way home — Mike stopping every few yards to shoot at the demonic snake that was right on our heels. (You’ll say a snake can’t move that fast and couldn’t have been following us. To this day Mike swears it’s true and, because he always tell me the truth, I believe him.)
Clamoring into the house, we shut the door behind us and climbed onto the couch. Mom marched in asking what all the noise was about and before we could explain, Mike’s in trouble for bringing the BB gun into the house and I’m in trouble for leaving my book outside. And, even though Mom stood in front of us screaming, we smiled because we knew she’d keep us safe.