My Brother His Sister

As kids my dad took us to ‘the farm’ every weekend.  We played-we worked-we got dirty.  We did not get clean.  There was no running water for the first few years we did this weekend trekking.  We hauled our drinking and cooking water from ‘the city’ with us in five gallon water coolers.  We did not waste water on washing faces.  Hair.  Or anything to do with hygiene.  I’m pretty sure dad must have thought this was a good way to toughen us up.  A little dirt won’t hurt us.  Besides, when we get home on Sunday evening we can all take our showers, brush our teeth and be clean for school the next day.

I’m pretty sure dad was oblivious to the stench of four, five, maybe even six kids, that go two or three days without bathing.  Or teeth brushing.   He must have really loved us.  Or, he had olfactory issues.   I can’t imagine what a holiday weekend did for our odor producing abilities.

And.

Today is my brother’s birthday.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with the preamble ramblings above.

But, being his birthday I wanted to give him something.

A memory.

That’s what I will give him.

Yes.

I’ve been holding a grudge carrying it around for over 35 years.  I thought I would share it with him on his birthday.

After one such weekend as described above we return home.  By this time the oldest brother (birthday fella of today) didn’t have to get to go to ‘the farm’.   So he didn’t have to load, unload, clean, put away three days of mess, filth and clutter.   Nor did he have to carry three days of stink with him where ever he went.

I finished with my chores.  I went up the steps, turned right in to the hallway to go get clothes from my bedroom so I could take a shower and brush my teeth when we passed in the hallway.

His gift to me that day as he recoiled and threw himself away from me on to the wall to create barrier and get air:   “oh my God you stink!  Take a shower and brush your teeth!!!”

Okay okay.  Here’s the real gift to him…

For all of the years we have shared on this earth as brother and sister the above ‘memory’ is the absolute worst thing I can think of that he ever said or did to me.  Considering two of the other brothers tried to tie me and my friends to a tree, and another brother tried to convince me I was adopted, and a couple of them used me and the other kids as target practice for crab apple throwing…

I think it’s a wonderful brother to have who’s only ‘fault’ in over forty years of brotherhood to me was to tell me the blatant (albeit obvious and I didn’t need it pointed out to me….) truth.   If that’s as bad as it ever was…. I am one lucky sister.

Happy birthday brother.

I love you.