Thursday, October 21, 2010

Siblings. Farm and Fashion Victims.

My sister and I, who are a mere 14 months apart (what was my mother THINKING???), really got along well the majority of our childhood. I think the reason we didn't fight much was the "Get along or you WILL be sleeping together in the hallway tonight, holding hands!" threat from our mother. Two important factors made this a real threat. 1. We were a family that hugged one another just to joyfully observe the annoyed grimace from the recipient or "victim" of the hug. 2.This was not a woman to test. She ALWAYS followed through on what she said. So, by default, we got along as kids.

There are, of course, a few circumstances that I can remember where it wasn't wine and roses. They are not outright fights, but instead passive aggressive forms of sibling abuse that haunt us both to this day. We grew up on a farm in rural Iowa. When I say rural I mean no stoplights in the whole county and there is a pretty good chance your neighbors might be Amish. I am the younger sister and also was a very scrawny kid who fainted easily. My sister was not only older, but matured quickly for her age and was (and still is) unusually strong. Muscles definitely come in handy when you grow up on a farm, fainting....not so much.

So there we are, in a haybarn in the late 80's. We are 13 and 14 years old. My sister is throwing hay down from the loft, yelling "BALE!!!" before each pitch. I am then throwing that hay into the horse trailer where my mom is stacking it. I don't know where dad is... waiting in the truck or holding the gate perhaps? But I digress.... So the process goes along like a well oiled machine until I feel a heavy crushing weight on my head, neck and shoulders just as I hear the word "bale" softly being spoken. Of course the 75 pound weight that was only one of the many reasons my chiropractor now owns my savings account, is the formerly mentioned bale. I looked up at my sister, who was looking down on me with a smug face, and said "What the bleep?", to which she replies flatly "I said bale."

In return for this lovely gesture I decide to hit her where I can. I was always the woman in the family others would come to for fashion advice. I suppose the fact that my mother's closet consisted solely of Wrangler jeans and cowboy boots did not make her an expert in the oh so fabulous world of eighties design. I on the other hand, read Sassy magazine religiously. My sis comes to me one morning before school for a little outfit advice. A big event is happening which requires her to "dress up" for the day. I casually suggest the three tiered ruffle skirt and the red pantyhose. Oh yeah. I know you are wondering why we even had red pantyhose. Well, I really cannot say, but we did, and they were awful. Cyndi Lauper would not even have worn these things. I enthusiastically convince her that she looks TOTALLY AWESOME and off we go to school. Of course I later feel guilty, but much to my chagrin she gets complimented all day. The Aqua Net used to achieve the massive puff and height of eighties bangs had clearly been leaking into these people's heads.

The next farm abuse instance I can remember took place in the 90's when I was home for a weekend from college. My sis and I went over to a farm to feed some horses and move some hay bunks. I did not realize when I signed up for this little excursion that moving the bunks meant actually picking up the 300 pounds of oak roughly the size of a queen sized bed and depositing it in the back of the pick-up truck. When this fact came into sight I protested that I couldn't lift that much. She says "Well, just try and we'll see if we can get it" and I say okay. So we are lifting the bunk about 2 feet off the ground and I feel things in my body tearing and tell her I can't lift anymore. She replies in a very forceful, low, demonic voice, like the girl on The Exorcist, "JUST DO IT!!!!!!". I am so fearful of scary movies and had unfortunately been tricked into watching this particular gem at a slumber party in my youth that I freak out and heave the 300 pounds of wood into the truck. I seriously should have married a chiropractor.

Unfortunately any fashion victimization to follow this event I inflicted upon myself and those that had the misfortune of looking at me.

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