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November 25, 2012: Dear Sister

Last night, after we exchanged belated Thanksgiving greetings, I hung up the phone and wished you were here, sitting at the kitchen table. Then I realized that I would not have the time to talk to you. It was 10 p.m. time to do evening chores. I still had to tend to the animals and bring in wood.

What I did not say in our conversation was that I’m glad I’m not an only child. For if I was an only child, I’d yearn for a sibling with whom I’d share confidences and mull over my parents’ strengths and weaknesses. Yes, siblings are like the keel on a boat. Without them, you skitter over the water, going nowhere, aimlessly.

Having three siblings would be much for me to deal with, for I’d then have to deal with another voice, another phone call, another point of view. People in groups of three have also never worked for me. Two is good; having a sister three years younger than me is also good. In this respect, our parents did quite well.

I cannot deny the fact that our lives differ. You live in the city and I live in the country. You live in a house and I live in a cabin. You have a conventional power source and I live off the grid. You have a clothes drier and I hang our clothes on stair railings. And on and on this list could go, like railroad tracks that appear to, but never intersect.

But this list is not going to go on and on. Why focus on differences? They are in fact, very superficial. It’s far better to focus on similarities, which are harder to make note of. This is because they’re engrained in our DNA.

Just a few:

We’re both gardeners. You are primarily into growing flowers. Your back and front yards are a riot of color in the spring and early summer. You grow many types, all colorful. The real eye catchers are the daisies, which while carefully managed, look like they’re growing wild. I don’t grow flowers; rather I grow vegetables, which are mostly green in color. They’re leafy, sometimes bug ridden. Like you, I pull my share of weeds. We both compost, and see its importance. You could use more horse manure, and I could use more greens.

Neither of us have children, but we both have a strong maternal instinct. You have two cats, Pumpkin and Gracey. I have five horses, three goats, two chickens, and two dogs. We’re both equally attentive to all our animals’ needs.

We’re both inveterate readers. And we both have similar taste in movies, liking those that speak to the human spirit.

And we’re both generous with our time and money. Friends matter, and we let them know this.

I suppose we could sit down, say, at one of our respective kitchen tables, and take the above and determine what traits of ours have been learned, and what traits are innate. I’d just as soon not know, for otherwise, we’d know one another a bit too well. And I for one rather like the mystery of not knowing why we are the way we are. This way, it seems like we are always learning something new about one another.

Love you to pieces

Your sister,



Next: 350. 11/26/12: In Memorium, Henny Penny Palin