HAVING A SISTER IS LIKE HAVING A BEST FRIEND YOU CAN’T GET RID OF. YOU KNOW WHATEVER YOU DO, THEY WILL STILL BE THERE.”
When the ranch house at the Shield 7 ranch, now known as the Bootheel 7, was remodeled I was sent a box full of memories e.g. yearbooks, letters and pictures. Among the pictures was one of my only sister Jen and her first 4H Club project, Mary the bum lamb. I remember the bond that made them inseparable. At the county fair Mary received a blue ribbon and went home to the ranch.
When Jean was born I was five. Prior to that time I had been my mother’s helper and the apple of her eye. So when I learned that there was a new bird in the nest I also learned that Jean was not just a visitor; she had come with plans to stay. Resignation led to friendship that strengthened every year.
The most frightening day for me was when Jean was bitten by a rattlesnake. We did our best to stop the poisonous bite from killing her. Our efforts were futile at best…and we were thirty miles from the nearest hospital. Dr. Reckling said to rush to Lusk. He met us half way and provided emergency treatment. Fortunately, he had the serum that kept the poison from spreading beyond the bitten leg.
Jean did many 4H projects. As a 4H member she did a demonstration. She practiced and practiced. I remember eating tuna casserole and apple Betty again and again. To me, it always tasted the same. She again won a blue ribbon.
Along the way, Jean tried out to be a cheerleader. She did not succeed because she couldn’t jump high enough. She did enter a contest in Douglas and won the title of Safety Queen. After graduation, she attended Loretta Heights College, graduated, and became a kindergarten teacher.
Today she lives in a memory care facility living with the disease that has no cure…Alzheimer’s. She still responds to my voice. Since the memories of the past are gone, we share some kind thoughts from the present. Although we live miles apart, we are of the same blood… a member of my family. I know that it is inevitable that she’ll again bring fulfillment to dad and mother when she joins them in heaven.
“A SISTER IS A GIFT OF THE HEART, A FRIEND TO THE SPIRIT, A GOLDEN THREAD TO THE MEANING OF LIFE”
PO Box 14
Capitola, CA 95010