My sister and I didn’t grow up together.
I grew up in a small town and she was raised in the city.
But somewhere along the way, things changed. For one thing we both grew up. I left the small town of my childhood with the white clapboard church and the tiny yellow post office and I moved to the city. And then I moved to another city which happened to be the same city in which my sister lived.
By that time I was all grown up with a two-year-old child and another one on the way. People thought I was an adult. I wasn’t, of course. I was just a scared little kid pretending to be all grown up, but, somehow, I managed to fool people some of the time. Sometimes, I even fooled myself.
But one good thing about being an adult is you get to make your own choices and I did.
I decided to make contact with my sister.
And that proved to be a good decision because then the two of us decided to make another choice.
We decided to be friends.
Our friendship has stuck, even as life has bounced us about at times on a rather unexpected rough journey filled with unforeseen potholes and detours.
Right from the onset I liked my sister a lot. I liked how she could water-ski, all straight and strong behind the boat, finally dropping a ski and making a big rooster tail of water behind her.
I liked how she always looked so pretty and well put together, even after spending a day on the lake or coming off the golf course or even out of her kitchen, for that matter.
I remember the year she taught me to water-ski. “Lean back, hold the rope tightly and let the boat pull you up,” she commanded in her big sister voice.
“I’m not ready,” I whimpered. “Yes, you are,” she said, giving me a push and, surprisingly, up I went.
My sister loves music and books and dressing up. I do, too.
She loves movies and laughing until her belly hurts. I do, too. She loves heart to heart talks and pretty things. I do, too.
This weekend my sister and I got together once again with our husbands to visit a dear friend in the country.
I wasn’t sure how my sister would adjust to being away from the concrete jungle of city life. Here, there were no restaurants, no dress shops or hair salons. There wasn’t even pizza delivery, for Pete’s sake.
There was only a gentle kind of peace and quiet that seemed to permeate everything. The air smelled good, fresh and clean, like newly washed sheets hanging on a clothesline. I liked it here. I liked the way the trees had made themselves into a forest and I liked the huge flamboyant displays of flowers against the house.
But, I wasn’t sure about my sister, the city girl.
As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about. In about the time it took for that little frog we discovered in the grass to hop from point A to point B, she turned her citified self into a country girl.
And she had fun.
Unfortunately, illness has robbed my sister of much of her mobility and she gets around with the aid of a walker, wheelchair or scooter. So when she was able to maneuver herself onto the quad we all clapped and were so proud. We even took pictures.
When I found out I was expected to drive the quad with my sister as my passenger, I momentarily hesitated. “I’m not comfortable driving,” I muttered, but my misgivings fell on deaf ears.
“It’s easy,” my friend said. “Keep it in second. You’ll be fine.”
I glared at him, but he merely smiled at me and walked away.
“You can do it,” my sister whispered. “We’ll laugh about this later.”
And for a moment, I had a flashback of the two of us in the water, me shivering and holding onto the rope, scared out of my mind. I wasn’t ready then either, but I did it.
Resolutely, I put the quad in second. “Hang on,” I said.
And so on a bright September day, with the air soft and clean around us, and the clouds moving lazily overhead, my sister and I rode together on the quad. We rode through a path flanked by trees, their leaves just beginning to turn gold and scarlet, we passed deep patches of soft green moss and low laying bushes filled with red berries.
And even though I couldn’t figure out how to reverse that great big huge hunk of steel and metal under me so we could turn around and go home and we had to get rescued, we did laugh about it, later.
And, I’m pretty pleased my sister and I found another thing to do together we hadn’t yet experienced.
And later when I watched the wonder on her face when she held a tiny saw-whet owl in her hand, captured earlier in a mist net by our friend, the bird bander, I realized our adventures might only just be beginning.
And it made me wonder what crazy thing we might do next.
Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review and writes a regular column for The Pipestone Flyer.