broad smiles all around
full finery from head to toe
Being the youngest of three children
had its perks and pitfalls.
I never had to be the first to do anything—
to walk, to talk, to ride a bike, to start
school, to succeed, to fail—so on and so forth.
It was comforting and secure to trail behind
two older siblings who knew the ropes,
even when they chose to hang me out to dry,
rather than share their wisdom.
It was nice to bask in the glow of their
accomplishments, although on occasion
I had to live down the reputation they had
already established, particularly in school.
My sister was a discriminating learner.
If she liked the teacher and/or the subject,
she put her best foot forward.
With his quirky sense of humor and smarts,
my brother cruised through academia
without breaking a serious sweat.
I was the classic overachiever who piled on
the courses and was determined to get an “A”
even if I disliked the subject and/or the teacher.
In other words…’Miss Goody Two Shoes’.
More than once I walked into a classroom
where the teacher’s first words were, “Are you
so and so’s sibling?”
Or worse yet, “Not another (insert last name)
in my class!”
While the move out-of-state after my
sophomore year in high school seemed
an injustice at the time, in reality it was
a blessing in disguise.
The symbiotic sibling interplay was disrupted.
For the first time, I had a perfectly clean slate.
Inspired by Daily Prompt – Symbiosis
Hopes and dreams
In the absence
Of a healthy dose of
Is a sure recipe for
My uncle Loyal was the youngest of three boys in a family of five children.
I remember him to be an affable individual, with a broad smile, a true gift of gab and a kind heart.
Loyal was also a big dreamer, who generated a plethora of get rich quick schemes over the course of his lifetime.
Always in pursuit of the trophy fish, he threw back the daily keepers which could have provided ongoing sustenance and stability for his family.
He did in fact land a real whopper, once. Loyal created one of the very first scratch card games. It was a big hit in Canada. The dollars came rolling in.
My uncle moved his family from a modest apartment to a rambling estate along the Missouri River, complete with a swimming pool, pond and guest house. Life was good.
A failure to read the fine print, however, cost him in the end. After a few short years, the royalties slowed to a trickle and then stopped, altogether.
His family’s economic and emotional roller coaster hit bottom, again.
For his son Butch, it was the last straw. Enrolled in private school and living the high life one minute….with the phone disconnected and bill collectors at the door, the next. Humiliating for anyone to endure, it was especially devastating to a teenager.
Butch had a nasty “accident” while cleaning his gun. Although never officially ruled a suicide, I believe that to be the case. He was just fifteen.
I was sixteen when Butch died. His death was transformational. Overnight, I went from invincible teen to mere mortal, intimately staring death in the face for the first time.
I gained a new appreciation of how fortunate I was our family was never on that roller coaster ride with Butch.
I learned being a “Steady Eddie” daily breadwinner isn’t always glamorous, but it is one of the most admirable of traits to possess.
Sometimes being successful comes with unexpected costs.