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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Oh Brother.... Part Two

My sister, Jill Thompson is guest blogging. Her subject, same as me - our brother Tim. I shared the big sister's perspective. Now enjoy this one from the little sister. cr

 Oh Brother (Part 2)

     My sister is a writer. She is a really good writer. She’s been writing amazing poems for years. My favorite was one she wrote and read to me on my wedding day, nearly 14 years ago. She has also authored several books and has her own “writer’s blog”. She recently posted a blog titled, “Oh, Brother…” If I were asked to pick which blog is my favorite, this one is it. She described my brother and many memories they shared while growing up. Several of the instances she mentioned brought back clear and vivid memories, while others surprised me and some things I didn’t know at all. I realized that the two of them have a relationship of their own. While I share that relationship, I have my own different relationship with each of them. Of course, since my sister is the oldest and I’m the youngest – it creates a very different perspective. This has prompted me to write my own “Oh, Brother…” blog. Because my sister is a writer, and I’m not, I hope she will forgive me for a bit of plagiarism.
      I’ve heard of sibling rivalry. I’ve experienced it. Because my brother is over four years older than me, we weren’t exactly rivals. He had all those years of experience before I came along. He had practiced “pestering” my older sister for years – and I was often targeted with teasing and fighting too. He told me there was no such thing as Santa Claus. He laughed at my hairy legs. He teased me the first time I wore panty hose. He told me my cat was trapped in a can – which actually filled my face with green smoke when I tore it open. Worst of all he’d sometimes say I was adopted. Of course I dished it out too. After all, I learned by watching him and my sister “fight”. I snickered at him while he got ready for dates. I snooped in his closet and his room. I busted him in the face. I’m sure if I asked him, he could recall many more things. Fonder memories include the times when he was my savior. At an age where I was a gangly girl, a couple of boys decided to pick on me and another girl, by splattering us with pieces of watermelon. Once my brother learned what happened, those bullies found themselves covered with sticky watermelon splats! He also often broke my show steers to lead, and took the bulk of load when it came to taking care of the livestock. Of course that gave him the right to name his 4-H pigs after me too. As I started an inventory of memories for writing this blog, what actually struck me most weren’t the times we fought or even the times of sentiment. The countless memories dropped into the list are the things he taught me, and the times he championed me. He spent countless hours with me in the back yard pitching softballs or helping me shoot free throws. He quizzed me on my multiplication tables so that I was the first one in my class to the top of the rocket. When I started tennis lessons, he took me to the courts for practice – even when he’d been working 70 hours a week during wheat harvest. He is the one responsible for instilling a competitive drive in me. His example and his pep talks are what has helped me continue to set goals and have the confidence to meet them. Of course all those years growing up with my brother do have sentiment. “Crashing” with him on the divan while we watched television – often MASH episodes - is one of the fondest thoughts that comes to mind. Of course it wasn’t long before we’d be arguing about who should get up to change the channels. It was also my big brother who bought me one of my all-time most treasured Christmas presents – a pair of Calvin Klein jeans – when I was at that awkward age of fourteen. In my sister’s blog, she wrote that nowadays, we don’t fight anymore. I guess my brother and I have been known to continue to fight, but it doesn’t have the heat it once did. My brother is still one of the first I call with good news and he is still one of my biggest supporters. His influence made me strong and made me tough. How could I not be tough? After all, he must have football-tackled me nearly two thousand times through the years.(Not to mention the karate move that gave me a concussion)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Oh Brother...

Anyone heard of a thing called sibling rivalry? Anyone experienced it? It’s an amazing thing. My brother and I are just short of three years apart (I’m oldest). We grew up fighting each other and playing together and barely understanding the difference. I don’t remember being the only child before he was born. My earliest memories include him. He has always been there and been a part of my life. Sometimes it was a wonderful blessing. At others it seemed more of a necessary evil. At any rate, I can’t imagine what my childhood would have been like without my brother. He read my diaries. He stole my forts. He spied into the bathroom through a keyhole. He cheated at board games. He laughed at me when I exercised with Jack Lalane. He told my sister what I got her for Christmas. I could go on. And on. But it wasn’t always him that did the torturing. I stuck a pin in his boxing bag and deflated it. On car trips I made him sleep on the ledge under the back window so I could sleep on the seat. I blamed him for stuff he didn’t do. I guess he forgave me. I hope so anyway. He did a lot of nice things for me too. He did my animal chores every morning when I didn’t like to wake up. We had vacation clubs in the barn attic. We made tents on his bunk beds. We built trains out of bikes, trikes and wagons. I did a few nice things for him on occasion. I quizzed him on football cards. I bought Valentine’s Day flowers for his girlfriend. Once I even cleaned out his toy box so I could find all the change inside from his broken piggy bank. That’s all I can remember. And then there were the “embarrassments.” Like going on a double date together with another brother/sister pair. Or when I was a senior, he a freshman, and kids in our high school kept getting us mixed up. We looked alike, I guess. Horrors! Oh and the stuff we know about each other! Cactus needles in the behind. Hugging trees on the top of KT. Having a wreck on prom night. Rampart Range Road. Dents in the ceiling. Spying in the basement. This list could be dangerous so I’ll quit there. Nowdays we don’t fight anymore – not much anyway. I have a sweet sister-in-law, two awesome nephews and an adorable niece because of him. He doesn’t mind being my facebook friend and we celebrate his birthday every Christmas Eve. Funny thing, though. He’s given up on trying to catch me in age. He used to think he could do that. Now he doesn’t even want to. We watch K-State sports, we enjoy thinking “Nobody ever tells me anything” about each other and we can still get excited about remembering stuff from a long time ago. Stuff like Daniel Boone on TV. The commercial game. POAs on the Christmas tree. The county fair. Filling the sugar bowl with salt. Long walks to the archery range. Collecting pop bottles on the river bank. Picking and trading a boxful of fireworks. Drinking pop at Grandma’s. Zitting horses. Major Astro. Santa and Toy Boy zooming around the big wide world. Being banned from calling each other anything that ends in “head” or “hole”. (Yes – that really happened!) What would life be like without a brother? Glad I never had to find out. I have a sister too. But that’s another blog. Proverbs 17:17