I was reminiscing the years that Pa and I ran the little corner grocery store the other day. I remember one little family in particular. The Jenkins girls were always squabbling. I suppose it was mostly because Suzanne was quite a bit older than Deidre.
I recall Suzanne and Deidre's mother telling me this one story several times over the years. I can still hear Rosalie Jenkins repeating every word. "Why do I always have to let you tag along?" Suzy grumbled. "I can't even go to the market for bread without taking you."
"I'm your little sister, that's why," Dee Dee chanted. "You're just mad because Mom said I could go."
"I can't see why I have to take you everywhere," Suzy snapped. "After all, you aren't my responsibility."
A damp spraying mist fell from the soot colored sky. The clouds were getting darker and Suzy wanted to get home before the storm came. Dee Dee scampered around the store grabbing everything she could reach, wanting to know if she could have it.
"No, you can't, Dee Dee Jenkins," Suzy said frowning. "We'll probably get drenched because I had to let you tag along."
Suzy snatched the bread from the counter, grabbed Dee Dee's hand and stormed out of the store. When they got to the old brownstone house, Dee Dee skipped up the driveway and darted through the door into the kitchen.
"I'm thirsty," Dee Dee said pushing a chair. "I'm going to get a cup of milk."
"Don't you dare climb in that chair," Suzy yelled. "I'll get you a glass of milk. Do you want anything else?"
"No," Dee Dee said. "I'm not hungry yet."
Suzy took two slices of bread from the bag, spread peanut butter on one, and slapped gobs of blackberry jam on the other piece.
"Can I have the sandwich?" Dee Dee giggled. "I love peanut butter and jam sandwiches."
"I thought you didn't want anything else," Suzy said glaring. "I guess I should have known better."
"I want another glass of milk," Dee Dee said, yanking the refrigerator door open. "Oops, the eggs fell out of the shelf, Suzy."
Suzy grabbed a handful of paper towels to sop up the eggs. She tossed the soiled towels into the garbage pail then begrudgingly poured Dee Dee another glass of milk.
"I want you to listen to me, Dee Dee," Suzy yelled. "If you want anything else tell me."
"I'm going outside to pet Toby," Dee Dee said. "He's the only best friend I've got."
Suzy felt ashamed, she had never thought about their little dog being the only thing Dee Dee had to play with. She tried putting herself in Dee Dee's place. Dee Dee was too small to go anywhere by herself. There weren't any children in the neighborhood Dee Dee's age. There were so many things that she couldn't do. She would be old enough to start kindergarten in the fall, but for the first time Suzy realized Dee Dee was lonesome.
Suzy's birthday was just a week away. She went to her room and began writing invitations for her party. Her mother had told her she could invite all her friends. She asked each one to bring their little sisters and brothers with them.
The day of the party everyone arrived promptly at two o'clock.
"What's all these little kids doing here, Suzy?" Rosalie said she asked. "I thought this was your birthday party."
"It is, Mom," Suzy said. "I thought about Dee Dee never having anyone to play with, so I asked my friends to bring their little sisters and brothers with them. I wanted to share my birthday with Dee Dee."
Suzy had the games ready for the children to play. She watched smiling as the kids giggled and screamed when one of the boys pinned the tail on the donkey's ear. The big smile on Dee Dee's face made sharing her birthday worthwhile.
I suppose it's that way with most sisters when they're still just little younguns at home. But I'm happy to say that Suzanne and Deidre are not just sisters but good friends as well.
Copyright © 2001 Jo Ann Lovelace. All Rights Reserved.