Saturday, August 26, 2006

I'm a Moo Cow

Red Rover, Red Rover, send Ava right over...

Just when I was looking at this blank screen wondering what on earth I was going to ramble on about this time, my sister Ava came to my rescue. Ava has this thing for forwarding all those emails that make the rounds on the internet... You know, the ones that are designed to make people smile, appreciate mom, and clog up bandwidth. She sent me one all about a happier time, before cell phones, when we all played "ring around the rosies" and money issues were handled by the banker in Monopoly... Yawn, smile , tear... and then I came across the line that read "older siblings were your worst tormentors..." and to use a line from the movie Clueless, "I, like, totally paused" and I do mean totally. Being the older sibling, I take great offense to that sentence and feel the need to use my blog to defend myself, my reputation and put the cards (credit and otherwise) on the table for all to see...

Although Ava has a different mother than Laura and I, we all look pretty much alike... Blonde hair, blue eyes and big ears (thanks dad) only when it came to the ears, Ava won the lottery and for once, I was happy to be the loser. When she was born she was really nothing more than a bunch of ears with limps and two big blue eyes... I adored my baby sister. It was different with Ava than with Laura. The closeness in age with Laura and I made us very close when we were young and we were each others best friends - Partly due to living in the country, in a trailer (yes, there you have it, I lived in a trailer... a double wide, thank you very much... I'm white trailer trash and proud of it. What's it to ya?!) in what can only be described as "Little House on the Prairie" style with no neighbours around - but mostly because we just liked each other. We would sit in the back of the station wagon whenever we went anywhere and keep our mom entertained by fighting. God forbid we would glance out each other's windows. Or cross that invisible line drawn exactly down the middle of the back seat to which I would get myself as close as possible without crossing. Then there was that "stop touching me game" we were so fond of playing which, when I got a bit older I changed a bit. I would put my finger about an inch away from Laura forcing her to tell me to stop not touching her and then I would touch her, forcing her to cry that I touched her, but in my own defense, she had asked me to. Women. Whenever we were given a drink to share in the car, we would split it one sip at a time, each closely monitoring the other and it was war if one of us felt that we had been cheated by as much as a molecule. If I felt cheated, I would simply not touch Laura and she would complain until mom yelled and threatened to leave us by the side of the road. This was all further complicated by the addition of our step-sister Stephanie who was Laura's age. That meant that one of us had to sit in the middle. With no window. No door. No side. What had been fairly divided into 2, was now unequally divided into 3 and being in the middle was the worse thing that could happen to any one of us. All I can say is, thank God for the growth spurt that made the rear-view mirror worthless if I sat in the middle. And so whoever sat next to me, I would guard my window and pass the time by not touching them. When our parents would go into a store, the three of us would be left in the care doing one of 2 things. Playing "Name That Tune" where we would "do do do do do" until someone guessed the song by some stroke of luck or we would beat each other up. Many a bloody battle was fought outside the Piggly Wiggly.

So far, I have yet to see any torment, just the innocent follies of youth.

Ava is 14 years younger than me so we never really played those games that were so important when I was a mere lad. I was old enough to actually do things with Ava... take her swimming, dress her up, do her hair, all the kinds of things that older brothers do with their much younger sisters. She wasn't so much a sister as she was a living, breathing toy that walked, talked and threw temper tantrums when she didn't get her way - Something she shared with Laura, but to the best of my recollection and in somewhat complete honestly, I can say that I never did such a thing - I was a parent's dream.

One of the best things about Ava when she was very young is that she adored me and she was a total sponge. I managed to teach her to inform people that she was no a little girl, but a cow, and being the brilliant little sister she is she would actually say, and she did this all on her own, "I'm a moo cow". I would laugh and laugh and my friends would laugh as well, and Ava would laugh with us and say it some more and the circle would continue until our stomachs hurt. I also taught her to use her hands to flap her ears while she walked around, again cramp-inducing bouts of laughter.

Around the same time, her mom Jan started teaching her simple colors and animal shapes and would get so frustrated that Ava just never seemed to get it. What Jan didn't know until very recently, was that when she was done, I would give Ava a different education. I would point to red and tell her it was blue. I we would see a chicken and I would tell her it was a horse and all the while, she thought she was a moo cow.

Again, tormentor? I think not....

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