|Charlie on Prez, a favorite of us both|
|Demonstrating a gentle mule.|
When Charlie first got big enough to begin to help out in a meaningful way, we had our hassles. I know I was bossy--what big sister isn't! I was also in charge as my dad made a point of telling Charlie. So yeah, we went round and round for a few years but by the time he was twelve and I was pushing twenty we came to understand how valuable a good working alliance would be to both of us. As dad's health began to decline and he got increasingly more cantankerous and at times downright mean, we learned to stick together and work as a team. That was when we built the durable bond that holds to this very day.
People are often surprised to find we have now shared a home for seven years and had very few cross words between us. We shared several household moves which we did ourselves and many other difficult tasks, Not a lot of siblings could do that, though I am sure there are others. It just isn't all that common. We often talk about those earlier days, still trying to understand some of the more difficult and painful parts yet cherishing good memories of shared adventures, family outings and the chance to meet many strong and unique people who became our heroes to some degree and certainly examples that we used as role models.
The old saying, ":Bare is back without brother" is so very true. Blood truly is thicker than water and I am eternally thankful that although I missed having a sister-- grateful various special and dear female friends have filled that place for me--I was blessed with a wonderful brother. Actually there were two of them but the baby of the family, who was born right after my sixteenth birthday, was taken from us too soon. Alex died from an aneurysm at a mere forty-six years of age when he had just gotten a good start on his career as an attorney and bought his first house. We miss him still.
*Grut? So now to explain that weird word in the second sentence! Remember we grew up in the late fifties and early sixties before several four letter words became common vernacular for everyone except the elderly and even some of them took them up! We did not dare to use any profanity or crude words in our parents' hearing lest we get our mouths well scrubbed out with Lava soap! However there were plenty of situations, events and frustrations that cried aloud for some hard language! Yet even just between the two of us, we seldom to never used any of those "bad" words for a long time for if we did it at all, we'd be sure to slip and say the wrong thing at the wrong time! Therefore, we coined our own multipurpose swear word: grut. It sounded gross and you know how kids are with gross things--so we could say "Grut happens", "Grut on that", "Go to Grut" and "Grut you!" And there was not a darn thing Mom or even Dad could do about it! No, we weren't cussing or using vulgar language! We still might occasionally slip that in but sad to say, our vocabularies are not nearly as refined as they were in those days.Many years around railroad people, the military, cops and such have left a 'grutty' residue!
It just happened that I was born first; had our genders been reversed things might have been very different. I might not have become a Cowboy Girl although I suspect that was written in my stars all along and sure to happen, regardless. But even the strongest and toughest of us needs a partner, a trusted someone to count on-- a wing man, in the vernacular first of the military pilots and now much expanded past that original meaning. Thank all the Powers That Be that this was given to me.