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Run to Your Older Sister

When life gives you lemons, run to your older sister.

Everyone should have an older sister like mine. Born in the beginning of the Baby Boomer generation, she is a living composite of dedication, hard work and commitment.

Our parents were farmers, raising a large family on a shoestring budget. Maybe not even a budget; the money went out as fast as it came in, in those days.

Dixie, as the oldest, had to assume responsibility at a young age. She remembers doing farm chores before boarding the school bus in the morning. In fact, if you ask her about the ladder-breaking incident, she’ll tell you how it happened.

We kept chickens in a large coop in the upstairs part of our barn, accessible by a ladder held at the top by ropes and pulleys. When we wanted to clear space for the cows below, we just swung the ladder up and away. The morning of “the incident” Dixie was struggling to carry buckets of water up the stairs when, crash! the rope broke and she came hurtling down. Our dad heard the crash and poked his head out the door of the milk barn. He quipped with characteristic dry wit, “That’s some way to get outta work!”

Ah, yes, Dixie was the picture of hard work, and never gave up. In fact, I owe her a great debt of gratitude; she was my first reading teacher. Yep. The summer before I started first grade—we didn’t have kindergarten in our town yet--she patiently taught me how to decipher those mysterious words on the printed page. She gave me a leg up and helped me win a few spelling bees with her patient coaching.

There were a few siblings between this oldest sister and me, and they enjoyed taunting me, the whiny little sis. But I could always count on Dixie to not join their taunts. And for that I have been always grateful. She’s a loyal friend. She wrote letters to me when I went away to college in a far-away state. She sent me postage stamps which (forgive me, Dix) I sold to have money to do laundry. Did I mention I was living on a bleak monetary budget also?

Several years ago, this oldest sibling quit her job to care for our aging mother. And when our mother had to live in an assisted living facility, my sister spent at least a year cleaning out the accumulated clutter we didn’t know existed in Mother’s house.

There’s a special reason why this sister comes to mind today; it’s her birthday. Would you do a favor which will take only a minute? Please use the comment box below and wish Dixie a happy birthday.

She doesn’t know I’m doing this. I could never repay her for what she’s done for me. She richly deserves all the happiness we can give.

Happy Birthday Dixie!

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