Yesterday I gave you a slice of life from the crusty pie that was Val's childhood. Today, you get a take-out bag of assorted leftovers. And if I've told parts of this story before...well...leftovers last for more than one day, you know.
After our ladder-beatings and subsequent pedal-fire-engine rides down the broken-sidewalk hill, Sis and I could usually get along well enough to share the wagon. We had a Radio Flyer, I'm pretty sure, but it was secondhand, and had been painted country blue by either the previous owners, or our dad. It didn't steer as well as the fire engine. But there was no danger of getting your bare toes caught up in the pedal mechanism if you forgot to hold them off the pedals during the ride.
Also, the wagon didn't steer as well as the fire engine, so rather than try to ride it all the way across the culvert to Fanny Hugg's house, we turned it at the last minute into our neighbor Sally's yard. Of course it turned over. But we went flying out on grass, not over the side of a six-foot drop onto the flat rocks of a creek that may or may not have contained sewer runoff.
We also had a giant red tricycle and a smaller blue tricycle that joined the neighborhood convoy racing down the sidewalk. Sis and I shared the three neighbor boys equally as friends, but she had a closer gal pal in the next block, and I had Sally next door as my confidant. We all took turns on the various vehicles. No bikes were used on the sidewalk. Bikes were for riding in the STREETS, by cracky!
Anyhoo...Sis and I were not constantly beating each other down with miniature wooden ladders. But neither were we holding joint tea parties and discussing our innermost feelings. I'm pretty sure Sis has forgiven me now for that time I accidentally hit her elbow when she was digging in her ear with a bobby pin. Oh, come on! Nobody ever bled to death out of their ear, for cryin' out loud! In fact, I don't even think Sis cried. She was too busy screaming at the top of her lungs to tattle on me. Sheesh! So dramatic, some people.
Did I scream to tattle on Sis that time I was laid up after knee surgery, and she did not fulfill her sisterly duties? No. I did not. Because, like a tree falling in a deserted forest, there was nobody there to hear me make a sound.
Here's the deal. It was over Christmas semester break. We were both home from college. Old enough, you'd think, to put away our sibling rivalry. Dad was at work, and Mom had to go to the store. I was on crutches, with a six-inch incision down the side of my knee, back in the days before arthroscopic surgery was a thing. Yep. Five days in the hospital. Then a four-hour ride home.
In the two days I'd been back, I'd already managed to fall down the stairs once. A split-level home is not designed for convalescents of orthopedic surgery. The carpet broke my fall, and the flimsy wrought-iron railing kept me from toppling down onto the second set of stairs. I'm pretty sure Mom was able to clean my skin off the rough white surface of the wall. Anyhoo...she decreed that while she was gone, I was to STAY PUT in Dad's recliner. She propped a pillow under my knee, got me the TV remote, and said that Sis would get me whatever I needed. RIGHT, Sis? And Sis agreed.
That should have been my clue right there. For Sis to agree to be my servant. Willingly. I did not take advantage of her. Not at all. She stayed upstairs in her room. Probably all smug in the knowledge that I could not get to her up there. I swear. Mom was gone for the longest time. It was like she drove to Florida to harvest her own oranges to make the orange juice. I didn't bother Sis once. Until...I needed drink. I'm pretty sure I was still taking painkillers, even though my thoughtful mother had only filled half the prescription. Those things make you have cotton-mouth, you know. I really needed some water. Thinking about Mom down in Florida squeezing out orange juice did not make my thirst go away. So I called for Sis.
She came down the stairs right away. Bounding. Full of energy. Almost like she was flaunting the fact that she was able-bodied and spry, not on crutches. I told her that I hated to bother her, but that I needed a glass of water. Sure, Sis said, and bounded up that lower set of stairs into the kitchen. I heard her take a glass out of the cabinet. I heard her run the faucet. And here she came! With my water! Sweet, sweet water. Wet! Quenching! Water!
I thanked Sis and took the glass (a green--my favorite color--plastic Tupperware glass) from her hand. Sis ran back to the steps, and I swear she took them two-at-a-time, both flights, back up to her room. Ahh...water. Sweet, wet, quenching water! I lifted the glass and took a big gulp.
THE WATER WAS HOT!
Sis had gone to the trouble to run me a glass of hot water. I'm pretty sure she was thumbing her nose at me through the ceiling-floor.
But you know what? During The Original Casinopalooza in March this year...Sis brought me a drink! Yeah. So...sodas are free in the casino. You just have to walk to one of the drink stations and push the spigot. But Sis ASKED me if I wanted a soda, and then she WALKED ACROSS THE CASINO and brought me one. I admit that I took a tiny sip at first. But it was okay! She had made it just like I asked: Diet Pepsi [Oklahoma casinos really need to switch to COKE] with a splash of lemonade.
Wasn't that sweet?
To repay Sis during Casinopalooza 2...I'm going to let her pretend that Hick is her husband while they're sitting side-by-side playing the penny machines.