National Sister’s Day was celebrated on August 2 this year, a day that celebrates the unique bond between sisters. And there could be no two people more different than me and my sister, Kathy. We grew up together in a small Maryland town nestled in the valley of the Alleghany Mountains. She was the outdoorsy type, while I was happiest indoors, curled up in a chair reading a book or talking to my friends on the phone.
Our family raised horses and my sister loved it – me, not so much. When we would show the horses, she wore a cowboy hat and boots and rode the barrels. I wore jodhpurs and trotted elegantly in the English Pleasure class. When we grew up, she chose to stay in the country and I headed for the bright lights of the big city to see if I could make a name for myself.
Kathy, who is two years younger than me, has long white hair and a dark tan from working outside taking care of the horses. Naturally slim from her active lifestyle, her clothing of choice is a good pair of jeans and a T-shirt. I work at a desk and I like my blonde highlights, business-casualwear and flats. She preferred an ice-cold beer while I sipped Chardonnay. I like to golf, and she likes to hike and ride her horses up the mountain. She was the saver; I was the spender. I had a bunch of kids; she had a bunch of animals.
I nicknamed her Mountain Woman after one Labor Day weekend visit when she took me for a ride in her truck to go hiking in West Virginia. As the truck climbed the curves on the upslope, we saw a car with lights flashing in distress. She immediately pulled the truck over to the side of the road, whipped out a set of chains from the back and set out to help the driver. (I would have called roadside assistance.)
I recently watched the movie, “In Her Shoes,” about two sisters who are very different. It highlights that no matter how complicated life can get, the sisterly bond remains incredibly strong, if not unbreakable.
Growing up, my sister could be a real pain. She knew how much I hated bugs of any kind and would put caterpillars down the back of my shirt as I screamed and cried. Yes, I would leave her at the bus stop, even though our mother told me to watch her. (I do regret that today.) But as different as my sister and I are, we are the same. We have the same sarcastic sense of humor and laugh at the same jokes. We share the same history and had each other’s backs. I don’t get to visit with her as often as I would like, but I always know that whatever is going on in our lives, I can pick up the phone, she will always be there and I will be there for her. And if we haven’t spoken in a long time, we just pick up where we left off.
Two other things my sister and I have in common are our two brothers, Joe and Chris … but that’s a whole other story for another time!
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