Life With a Little Sister

It’s still  Winter!!  Looking out my ‘window to the world’ it’s snowing again!  It’s cold enough out there to freeze the you know what’s off a brass monkey!  The Accent is still buried in snow…it can stay there for a few more days as I’m not needing to go anywhere any time soon!  Yes, I’m P’d off at this winter!

On the bright side however, on checking out the ”2oldguyswalking blogs” I was amazed to find that we have a new follower from THAILAND…Welcome and hope you enjoy our site.

One of our much appreciated followers is a young Lady who goes by the name of Bushwhacker’s LilSis and it seems she actually likes the Bushwhacker…go figure!  Seriously, from what I know of her, she has been through mega medical problems recently and the good news is that she is recovering very well.  I am looking forward to the time she can make the trip from the ‘Far North’  to the ‘Banana Belt’ so a couple of  ‘big brothers’ can show her some of our weird and wild wonders.   LilSis you have really inspired me to write about my own little sister.

In order not to end this blog on a sad note, I would like to thank my sister here, for being there for me on the darkest day of my life.  On April 2, 2013 at about three am I received a phone call from my youngest son Mark.  He was at a hospital in Toronto and said he had “some good news and some bad news” for me.  As my daughter-in-law Melodie was nine months pregnant, of course my heart stopped for a minute.  The good news was that I was a grandfather of an eight and a half pound grandson and the bad news was that he didn’t survive birth!  As this was their first child and was the first grandchild for me and for Melodie’s parents this was devastating news.   The drive to Toronto that night was the longest ever.  Driving home later that morning was a blur to me.  I walked into my apartment and I sat down on the floor and I cried like a baby.  My sister was the first person I thought of to call and ask if she could please inform the rest of the family of the sad news.  Turns out, she was in shock as much as I was and she had to call my sister Sharon to inform my family.

I had originally intended to relate some of the hard times my sister has been through in the last decade.  She has had way more trials and tribulations in her life than any one person should have had to endure!  Why do the worst things happen to the best people?

Her name is Barbara and yes, she is little, weighs about ninety-eight pounds dripping wet!  She is a couple of years younger than I.  Barb has five older sisters and one younger and four brothers…Ranger being her favorite of course!  As far back as I can remember she has been like my shadow, always wanting to follow me wherever I went.  As we grew older we have actually become best friends…  again go figure!

When we were toddlers, to keep us kids from roaming the acres of woods on the farm and possibly drowning in the little stream, our mother had us terrified of all the wild animals that roamed there.  Possibly this is why she started to shadow me, guess she thought I would be her protector?  It was many years later that I got wise to mum…there hadn’t been any bears, wolves or cougars on the farm for hundreds of years!

In my early teens before I had a job or drove a car, Barb introduced me to her best friend Bonnie (Louie).  Louie was the love of my life at that time.  We would pass love letters back and forth on the big yellow school bus on the way to high school.  Every Sunday for a couple of years I would pedal my old bike the thirty mile round trip to visit with Louie.  We would hold hands and walk (yes Bushwhacker) an ‘NO EXIT’ road!  Once, my sister and her boyfriend (later her husband and now ex) who had a car, and we, had a double date.  After touring for an hour or so, we were making a U turn to return to town and that old ’48 Chev died in the parking lot of a ‘seedy’ motel!!  What were we to do!  Louie’s mother had, only that same day, told me that if I ever got her daughter “in trouble” as we called it back then, she would “skin me alive” so calling her parents for help was definitely out!

As I am writing this, I’m watching (listening) to the TV a great program entitled  “The Beatles, The Night That Changed America (the Ed Sullivan Show)…A Grammy Tribute”.  I’m wondering if Louie still has the LP called  “Beatles ‘65” that I gave her way back then…that LP was the first record I ever bought and is likely worth a lot of money now…could I please have it back?  The first single record I ever bought was the “Eve of Destruction” by Barry McGuire mostly because it was almost banned at the time!

When I worked the Ski Club rope tow (see posting titled “You Can’t Go Back”) Barb worked in the Chalet snack bar and likely unknown to Mr. & Mrs. D, she would always give me free hot chocolate and the sweetest, toasted cinnamon honey-buns ever!

For years, busy raising our kids we didn’t hang out so often.  As the kids grew up and left the nest Barb started to attend almost every hike that I ever led for the Ganaraska  Hiking Trail Association.  She still has one favorite known as the Hog’s Back trail.  As this trail is a Club favorite, as well as for myself and the Bushwhacker, look for it in a future blog with pictures and text for our readers.

Other favorite trails we have cycled are, from Peterborough  to Lakefield along River Road (Peterborough Cty Rd. 32) which runs parallel to the Otonabee River.  There is now a rail-trail here that will be featured in a future blog as it will be a new one for me.  In the same area, we have cycled the rail-trail (Trans Canada Trail) from Peterborough to Omemee, and the Victoria Rail Trail from Lindsay north to Kinmount and many others.  For those that have not experienced a rail-trail…these are former railway roads that have been adapted to recreational use (four-wheelers, snow machines, walking and biking).  For cyclists they are a favorite as you can ride as far as you want with NO hills…you just know the ageing Ranger loves these!

For many years Barb ran (almost single-handedly) a dairy farm and has a fascination for Holstein cows, (hey, they are big and they are black and they are white,  guess there is no accounting for taste!), cream separators  (a hand-cranked apparatus to separate cream from milk),  homeless cats and dogs and auction sales (who doesn’t)?  I remember Barb and I taking her friend Heather to her first auction sale…the joy on Heather’s face (and the money she spent) were priceless!  Sounds like a great ad for a Master Card advertisement!

Note Re: Holstein cows:  I have nothing against these big and ornery things.  Just too many memories of twice a day rounding them up (I swear they used to play hide & seek) and bringing them into the barn for milking by hand!

There were years of us attending the Peterborough Festival of Lights (now the Peterborough Music Festival).  These were free concerts on Little Lake (every Wednesday and Saturday nights) with thousands of people attending the top-notch entertainment.  The Light attraction component (a parade of sail boats decorated with thousands of lights and moving in time with music), followed by fireworks has now been discontinued.  Another great memory for me was a gift of two tickets from my boys to a Merle Haggard concert in Peterborough.  Barb must be the only other person in my world who likes Country and Western music!  Merle has been my favorite singer bar-none since I was a young lad!

In closing this rather long blog, those of you who are lucky enough to have a LilSis, hope you enjoyed these memories.  For those of you that may not have been so fortunate to have a LilSis…well, this gives you an idea of what you have missed!

RANGER.

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