Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sister Trips

     When my big sis was five and I was three, she was so shy that I had to walk her to kindergarten for her first day of school. I don’t remember doing this, but it’s a story my mom has told often. As we grew, we remained best friends when we weren’t bickering over clothes or boyfriends and my shy sister blossomed into a leader and my hero. I remember days when Mom sent us to our separate rooms for fighting and we managed to rig a telegraph line between our upstairs windows by leaning out and swinging a string until we were connected and could clothesline messages back and forth. Then we grew up and moved away from each other, but the conversation never stopped.
     One of my favorite traditions with Meg is our sister trips. Originally they started with her travelling to the mountains to see me, or me travelling to Atlanta to see her, but in 2007 I was selected as Virginia’s Educator of Excellence and receiving the award required me to attend a gala in Washington, DC. In need of a dress and some advice about taxis and tipping, I flew to Atlanta to conspire with my more sophisticated sister. As we visited the dress shops, I shared my fears and Meg offered to attend the gala with me. She’s a world traveler who is unfazed by airports and bellhops so I eagerly accepted her offer. Suddenly the idea of navigating the city sounded fun. It was. Meg steered me through the unfamiliar formalities of a glamorous evening and I was able to enjoy my brief moment in the spotlight. After DC we decided that we’d had so much fun that we should continue the tradition. So far we’ve been on sister trips to Charleston, SC, Dahlonega, GA and most recently Amelia Island, FL. This last trip was a 50th birthday present from Meg to me and as usual, she took care of everything.
     We met at the Atlanta airport and because my plane was running a little late, I was in danger of missing the connecting flight to Jacksonville. No worries. As I huffed and puffed my way down the long corridor there was Meg waving a ticket at me. “Here, take mine and get in line,” she directed as she handed me her ticket and took mine. Because she’s a frequent flyer, Meg has privileges that allow her to board each flight early. The plane was crowded and getting on first allowed me to find a place to stow my bag before the bins all filled up. It was fifteen more minutes before Meg boarded and sat beside me. The whole trip was full of small courtesies like that. When we debarked in Jacksonville, there was a rental car waiting and Meg drove us out to Amelia Island where she had booked a hotel for three nights. We spent the sunny days in between roaming the beaches where we gathered starfish by the dozens as they washed ashore, rode bicycles on secluded paths, toured the island shops and galleries, and finally galloped through the surf on horseback. At night, we sampled some of Amelia’s finest restaurants and wine. Like all of my adventures with Meg we moved at full speed until falling into bed at night. I could barely walk when we landed back in Atlanta. But, it was worth every minute.
     We talked about our fears, our dreams, our families and our frustrations. When we finally separated at the Atlanta airport, me headed to Richmond, Meg headed home, I cried. While the sister trips are fun to plan and even more fun to enjoy, the best part of all is just spending time with my big sister. A sister who is your best friend is a treasure beyond counting. I have riches beyond measure.

Best Friends

When mom
banished us
to our rooms
for fighting
dangled a string between
our separate windows
and sent secret messages
across the warm brick
growing up
split us apart
leaving the line
between our rooms
to sag
in the wind

now that you live
five hundred miles south
I miss you
and long to
instant message you
with that
tender string

1 comment:

  1. I'm the big sister, and I can honestly say having a little sister is the BEST THING EVER! Mine is my best friend. Thanks for sharing your sister story.


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