Old things come back around again


The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Since our move this past summer, I now live much closer to my sister Debi. We used to talk on the phone quite often, and even though I practically moved to her back yard, ironically it is now long distance to call her.
It’s just the way the rural telephone lines run, I guess. So, we do a lot of communicating via e-mail.
Observation. And I made an observation yesterday while reading and responding to her daily note to me.
She was busy designing new plaques and a new catalog for her business, and running to a supply store for some necessary items for a new line she is creating.
When we were kids, Debi was constantly dreaming up new, creative business ventures. She had shoe boxes filled with art clippings from catalogs and magazines and great ideas for things that she felt certain would beautify the world while making people happy.
Ideas. While we spent time in the milking parlor, she would sketch ideas every chance she got, and describe in great detail to me some grand new plan. Though we didn’t go very often, when we did get to go shopping, she spent time studying window displays and deciding how to bring home the very best clothing for her money.
Stores. I tended to gravitate to the book store. I was constantly reading and writing, and even if I didn’t buy a new book, the book store gave me a feeling of joy and peace. I even loved the scent of all those new books!
Next, I always had to stop in at the pet store. I could spend hours there, petting each puppy I could reach, wondering which dogs would like to come home with me. I dreamed of rescuing them all from their tiny, uncomfortable pens.
Then, just to say I had bought something, I would make a quick trip in to the music store.
My sister would quiz me on the way home as to how I spent all my time in the mall, driving home with just a new 45 record to listen to.
So, just yesterday, as I responded to Debi’s e-mail, a light bulb from the olden days went off in my head.
While she was busy creating a new line for her business, my morning had been spent making a quick trip to the library for a new book I’d been waiting for, then dropping off a donation to the humane society. My afternoon was filled with reading, writing, grooming and playing with my dogs.
Mirrors. We may both be grown-ups, but we still mirror those little girls from long ago. Both my sister and I are living on farms that are reminiscent of the farm we grew up on where we spent endless hours playing together, swimming, hiking, bike riding – cultivating our imaginations in all sorts of ways.
While we no longer help plant corn, we both are avid flower gardeners and enjoy the thrill of designing a new flower bed.
We shared a bedroom and a childhood, all the laughter and the tears. As a child, Debi was often sick, and though I was three years younger than her, I often mothered her through migraines and horrible pain.
I would tell her to sit down and sketch her grand plans while we were in the milking parlor, because I knew she didn’t feel well, and I knew I could handle the work alone.
Thankful. She was always grateful. “Someday, when I am rich, I will take care of you,” she told me.
She and I are both still waiting for her to get rich, but she has often taken care of me in ways that no amount of money could provide.
I remain an incredibly lucky little sister, no matter how many years go by.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.