Sisterly Love

The following is a except from my Memoir called a Grandmother’s Story.  Norma is my older sister by three years.

By the time us kids were in the fourth and sixth grades Norma was a complete through and through tomboy and the controller of the neighborhood. Norma-nator should have been her name.  I drove her out of her mind with my meek and shy ways.

We didn’t lack for playmates. Next door in a long green stucco house lived the Grilley boys, across the highway was the Nelsons. They were old, but their granddaughter played with us when she visited. The three Horner girls lived on the other side and on top of Saurey Hill lived the Saureys. This bunch of kids is who we played with or fought with depending on Norma’s mood for the day. We had my wish. A creek was only a half mile away. We followed a country road north until we came to a spot where the creek passed under the road, made a bend and went back under the road. This area was ours. We fished and swam, built forts and ate picnic lunches there.

Shy Brookies lived in that stream. We caught them on worms and Eagle Claw hooks, size number six. We crept real careful, not making a sound or casting a shadow on the water, as we flung our lines into the water. The current took the worms downstream under overhanging bushes where fish hid.

Norma caught her share as we all did, but woe be to any of us who made noise. One day Norma shrieked. She high-stepped quickly in the opposite direction.”What’s the matter?” I asked in a loud whisper. “You’re scaring the fish.”

“I almost stepped on a damn snake,” she answered.

“Not afraid of a little snake are you?” I asked, surprised at her forbidden word.

“Of course not! I just don’t like them.”

Norma is afraid of the small green water snakes, my mind said. This was an enormous discovery. I now had an equalizer!
I bided my time. Sure enough a few days later she told me to move further downstream, because I was in the particular spot she wanted.

Mumbling to myself, I trudged downstream and plopped on the bank. Movement caught my eye. I reached into the weeds and pulled out a wiggling, hissing snake. It was only a small water snake, but when I held it by the back of the neck, it dangled down a good foot. Wiggling. Mouth open and forked tongue sticking out. Perfect.

“See what I found,” I said as I quietly stood at her squatting back.

She glanced up. “Yukkkk,” she screamed. “Get away!”

I held it closer.

“Wait till I tell Mom what you did!” she screamed at me and ran for home.

A little guilt about having a loving heart should’ve nagged, but fishing was good that day

SCAN_20140206_184835111SCAN_20140206_183248621 This is me and my Sister. Taken just about the time of the fishing story. We are best friends now but enemies as girls. Funny how life does that. Marie F Martin

What’s in a Heart?

Family Photo

“How do you know if a guy has a good heart?” This was the question my daughter asked me the February she was seventeen. The boy she liked and her date for the upcoming Valentine’s dance had done “something” (she wouldn’t go into more detail) that was causing her to have second thoughts about her Mr. Wonderful. Summoning all the restraint I could muster, I didn’t push her to reveal what the “something” was, as I knew that would send her fleeing in fear of a pending inquisition.

Many thoughts jumped into my brain. Make sure he respects you. (I’d preached that one for years). Does he listen to his mother? (More important to me, no doubt, than to her). But I sensed she didn’t want to hear a rehash of the platitudes and pearls of wisdom I’d tried to instill in her since birth. I didn’t want to screw this up. Her coming to Mom for advice instead of to her teenage peers was more and more a rare event.

She wanted something new, something simple and concrete that she could use as a yardstick in an attempt to measure the true nature of a human heart. Years before, I’d read a quote from Immanuel Kant, a famous 18th century German philosopher and ethics professor. It had stuck in my mind, probably because I love animals so much. My daughter does too. The quote seemed to fit our situation. I considered it a pretty good yardstick. So did my daughter, who eventually found and married a man with a good heart, a man that adores her and shares her love for animals.

“We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” Immanuel Kant.

Thanks for stopping by,

Deborah Epperson

Deborah Epperson