Tag Archives: Brother

Weird Things for Which I Was Thankful — Even in 2020

Image by Daniel Roberts from Pixabay.

(In this edited version of my newspaper column, I recall a Thanksgiving when COVID ran rampant.)

Have your children or grandchildren watched “Sesame Street’s” Oscar the Grouch? I worried, lest my offspring adopt him as their patron saint.

Fast-forward to 2020. Thankfully, my children don’t live in trash cans. Nor is Oscar their role model.

I, on the other hand, sound more like Oscar every day. So, this Thanksgiving, I choose to be grateful, even for weird things.

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for the following:

  • I don’t have to mask when I talk with You.
If praying with a mask seemed difficult, singing in the church choir was harder!
  • Because of COVID-19, I rarely try on clothes in stores. No multiple mirrors!
  • Squirrels playing nut-soccer on our roof don’t weigh 400 pounds.
  • Delivery drivers bring life’s necessities — like apple cinnamon air freshener and SunChips® — to our doors.
  • Potholders that aid in taking golden turkeys from the oven have not, unlike everything else, gone digital. I haven’t had to recharge one yet.
  • Not all gas pumps show videos.
Image by Artsy Solomon from Pixabay.

I also thank You that my husband has never, ever refused to open a pickle jar.

  • We use clean water I didn’t haul a mile.
  • Though some idiots — er, futurists — drool over human interfacing with technology, my Internet still has an off button.
  • Leaves filling my yard are not poison ivy.
  • I rarely worry about charging hippopotamuses.

Thank You, too, God, for pie. Any kind but mince.

  • Also for the fact no one has written or performed “Medicare Supplements: the Musical.”
My niece’s pie looked much better than mine, so I used her pic.
  • For the color periwinkle.
  • For the rustle and fragrance of a real book that keeps me up late.
  • For phone calls from Little Brother. When I was a teen with a boyfriend, and he a brat with mirrors, I wished him 2,000 miles away. Eventually, my wish came true. Now, I cherish the bittersweet joy of hearing his voice.
So thankful that the COVID situation improved so I could travel and visit Little Brother out West.

Finally, Lord, I’m thankful for my two-year-old grandson who sings in the night.

You hear that, Oscar? Probably not, as you have clapped your trash can lid on tight.

Image by Maaark from Pixabay.

Stay there, if you want. But if you change your mind, gratitude’s an excellent antidote for grouchiness.

Even for you, Oscar.

Even for me, this Thanksgiving of 2020.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: For which aspects of COVID’s wane are you thankful?

Aspirin, Anybody?

Groans. Heartrending moans.

My younger sister Jean, tossing and turning next to me in our double bed, was suffering yet another earache.

In the spirit of teen sibling compassion, I covered my head with my pillow.

“Go get an aspirin,” I mumbled. “Mom and Dad’s top dresser drawer.”

She stumbled toward the hall and my parents’ bedroom; I turned over with a sigh of relief. No longer my problem.

A bloodcurdling scream resurrected me.

Before I opened my eyes, I found myself pounding after her. I crashed into an unknown human form and lay flat on my back, panting in the dim hallway. Would I, too, now die at the hands of a hatchet murderer?

“Are you all right, honey? Where’s Jean?”

My unknown assailant didn’t sound like a bloodthirsty assassin.

“Mom?” I rubbed my eyes and tried to sit up. “Mom, is that you?”

I realized she, too, had hit the deck.

Meanwhile, Jean still screamed at the top of her lungs.

“I think she’s in your room,” I said. “Looking for an aspirin. Earache.”

“I must have run right past her.” Mom dragged herself to her feet and headed for her little girl.

Later, we learned that Dad, half-asleep, had detected Jean’s fumbling through their dresser drawers. Drowsy and confused, he bravely attacked the burglar who dared invade his home: he fired his pillow at her.

More screams.

Another tall shadow lurked in the hallway. This one brandished a large club. My heart nearly shot through the top of my head, until I recognized his silhouette.

“Ned,” I said to my elder brother, who crouched in the bathroom doorway, clutching his baseball bat, “it’s okay. Jean’s just got an earache.”

“Why did she scream bloody murder? You’d think she was dying.” He sounded as if Jean had personally invaded his dreams of Marilyn Monroe.

I shrugged tiredly and headed for bed. Eventually Jean returned, sniffling, and my mother soothed her back to sleep. Even though the house now slumbered to the quiet hum of insomniac crickets through the screened windows, I couldn’t close my eyes. My head pounded where Mom and I had collided like a couple of dump trucks.

Maybe I needed an aspirin.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: When you were a kid, was aspirin your family’s go-to remedy?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: I’ve Missed You, You Turkey

O Lord, once upon a time, we were Bossy Big Sister and Ornery Baby Brother. You know perfectly well that hasn’t changed completely. But now, reunited after several years, OMG, thank You we can share a big hug.

Breakfast with My Brother

Me at 16 with my brothers, circa 1969.

I measure the distance between extended family in states rather than miles. The lone exception, my brother Ned, lives in another part of Indiana.

A year apart, we played together like twins until I started school, where he acknowledged my existence only by a raised eyebrow.

Fortunately, he no longer regards sisters as threats to his manhood. We phone occasionally, but not often enough. I recall several years ago when we met halfway between our homes for breakfast.

We chose a mom-and-pop establishment, where we could indulge in illegal eggs over easy, crispy bacon and infinite cups of curl-your-hair coffee. Or the mortal sin of biscuits with gravy.

Entering, I saw no sign of Ned. As I walked toward a vinyl booth, I expected — and received — the who-are-you-stranger? once-over.

Homeland Security should catch onto this resource, one that could revolutionize national safety procedures. We don’t need metal detectors or X-rays. If the government would pay a tableful of these locals to drink coffee at security points, no terrorist in his right mind would try to get past their scrutiny.

Born and raised in rural Indiana, I knew I’d broken the rules. No woman eats breakfast alone in a strange town. As a sweet-faced waitress brought me blessed coffee, I pulled out my Bible and read while I waited. Eye-lasers clicked off one by one. Their owners swiveled back to their breakfasts. They gave Congress and the weather their morning cussing and analyzed high school basketball with an expertise that would put ESPN out of business.

Until my brother walked in. Immediately, the force field returned. As Ned headed toward my booth, question marks formed in the air, visible as if smokers had blown them.

“Good to see ya, Sis!” Ned trumpeted. He knew the rules, too.

The diners returned to their vivisection of basketball referees, as the waitress took our order. She brought us waffles, eggs and ham. Biscuits and gravy.

With bowed heads, we asked God to bless the cholesterol. Our words filled and warmed us as much as the steaming, delicious food. We solved our kids’ problems (if they would just listen!). We cheered the utter perfection of our grandchildren.

All too soon, our separate worlds called to us. We promised to connect sooner next time.

Before we separated, I demanded a hug, just to give the town conversation material for the next few weeks.

Ned’s eyebrow went up. But the hug happened.

It can’t happen today, in 2020.

But after this blasted COVID crisis ends, I’ll collect every one of those hugs that have piled up in the meantime.

Even if he raises the other eyebrow.

Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Whom do you want to hug post-COVID?