Today was anything but a casual Friday. With a quickly approaching major work deadline, I had to be to work for a 7 AM meeting to start off a busy day that has not slowed down one bit. I will work much of this weekend–although I will be sure to have Monday off–and will also be working through the following weekend. Then I will barely catch my breath before another huge deadline July 1.
I happen to be 63 so she is a much older sister. And I remind her of that every chance I get.
Carol is the sister with whom I made mud pies and with whom I shared a room when we were growing up.
She was always petite and small-boned while I was the big, strapping girl. I was taller and heavier as far back as I can remember. As younger sisters often do, I annoyed her greatly. We would get into physical scrapes. My mom told me more than once that I had to be careful with Carol. I was so much bigger than she was and I could really hurt her. Couldn’t my mom see that Carol was like a bantam rooster, fierce, stubborn and relentless? And that she had the upper hand in almost every dispute?
Growing up with seven brothers and sisters was always interesting, sometimes enjoyable, and often aggravating. We had tiffs and spats but also managed to play very well together frequently. I did not appreciate it at the time, but I realize that we were blessed to grow up in that environment. There were plenty of chores around the house and the dairy farm to keep us busy but we did find time for fun.
Sometimes all eight of us kids would play touch football, softball and wiffle ball with 4 person teams, but mostly the older boys didn’t want to play with us little kids.
We four or five youngest kids entertained ourselves in many imaginative ways. The family moved when I was in first grade and our new farm offered new opportunities. The entire farm was our playground. We had an old quonset hut on the farm that mom had outfitted as a playhouse. It contained old pots and pans, dishes, and empty boxes of cereals and other food items, games, books and a variety of old furniture. We had dogs and cats, all of which were outside animals. My brother had a rabbit named Snowball.
Dairy farmers used powdery lime on barn alleys to absorb liquid, neutralize odors and prevent slipping. The powdered calcium carbonate was delivered by the truck load to the farm. We had a small outbuilding dubbed the lime shed used for storing the barn lime. Wheelbarrow loads would be hauled to the barn and kept in an old barrel for immediate use. But the large pile of lime in the lime shed was a play area for my little brothers and me. During hot summer days the lime remained cool. We could spend entire afternoons out of the sun in the coolness of the shed. We were road builders. We used my brothers’ Tonka trucks and various materials from around the farm like small sections of concrete drainage pipe, concrete blocks and bricks and built quite elaborate road systems in the lime. Were these roads precursors to the super highway system?
Cousins are those childhood playmates who grow up to be forever friends — Anonymous
Besides growing up with five brothers and two sisters, I was blessed with 45 first cousins. My father came from a family of 9 children and my mother was from a family of 5 and family gatherings were large, crowded, boisterous affairs. Most of us lived fairly close to one another and we saw each other rather frequently. Outside of school, I spent more time with my cousins than any childhood friends.
Every now and then I hear about someone who has vivid memories from when they were three or even two years old. That fascinates me, but I surely do not remember things from that far back. I do have some clear memories from when I was five years old. I am confident of the age because my older brothers and sisters were in school and I was not. In addition, my family moved when I was in first grade and I can identify the old farmhouse as the setting of my memories.
I had two younger brothers, 21 months and 5 1/2 years younger than me. My first lesson in faith revolved around the birth of the baby brother. My little brother and I told our mother that we wanted to have another sister or brother. Mom told us that if we prayed to God we might get one. Oh my, we prayed. And, voilà! We got a baby! And almost immediately! That sure convinced me of the power of prayer and of God.