memories · Myself · Southern Living

Green Eye Shadow and a Mean Sister

Today, August 7, is National Sisters Day and I am reminded of a day spent with my sister. She was mean but smiled at me the entire time.


There isn’t a time when younger siblings don’t try to be everywhere and do everything their older brother or sister are doing. I did, on a couple of occasions, try to hang out with my older sister and a cousin about her age. They did not like me. I am only two years younger, so go figure!

I assume there is an age range when you feel superior to all other beings. I put it at about 12 years old. One occasion where I felt I was mistreated by my sister and, by extension, a cousin, was roughly 1980. Summer months all the young kids spent time at our paternal grandparents. One of our chores was to mow their lawn.

The (unspoken) rule was to take turns pushing the mower. You know, to be fair and all. I had to follow this rule more than others because I have an inability to sweat. It doesn’t take much for me to stroke out in even the mildest heat.

I made my laps around the lawn and stopped to give the mower over to my sister. She and a cousin were sunbathing in lawn chairs. They pretended to be asleep and refused to get up for their turn at the mower. I continued mowing much longer than I should have. My head thumped, heart raced, knees weakened and later that day my skin bubbled and blistered.

A different incident and, odd enough, with a different cousin involved bicycles and makeup. Living in the woods you don’t get many visitors. Honestly, if you live far enough back in there you don’t see anyone unless they are related. We were so far back we never saw strangers. No one went so far down that gravel road as to become lost or needed to turn around.

A female cousin from Momma’s side visited. She was a long-legged, dark-haired beauty even at that early age. She entered the beauty contests at the County Fair a lot. I assume she always won. One year my sister entered with her. I can’t remember the results.

My cousin and sister spent several hours riding bicycles and talking. I wanted to tag along but they were at that age where they were above being seen with me. WHO in the hell would see them? Nothing around but chiggers and skeeters. I jogged to catch up to them many time before I lost interest in both of them.

One evening my sister was sorting through makeup and I asked if I could put some on her. She sat still long enough for me to do her eyes and lips. I thought I did a pretty good job at my first time effort. She said she would make me up too.

I sat still as she smeared and smoothed stuff over my lips. She smiled when she finished and said she will fix my face while she is at it. She rummaged around in her makeup and told me to relax. She was pretty diligent in her brushing and powdering. She was smiling as she worked on me. She told me to close my eyes so she can do the eye shadow.

Time felt like it had stopped and I didn’t realize fixin’ my face would take so much effort. I cracked one eye open and asked how much longer. She was smiling and daubing something on my cheeks. She told me she was almost finished. After an eternity she told me she had finished. I didn’t get to look when my Momma came in and told us we were going to our grandmother’s house.

I wanted to wash my face before we left but there was no time. When I walked to the car I caught a glimpse of myself in the side view mirror and had an almost instant hatred for my sister. She had done my entire face in green eye shadow. A lime green almost Incredible Hulk color green. That stuff did not want to wash off.

She and this same cousin also talked me into going through our Grandfather’s neighborhood to Trick or Treat for candy. It was not October 31st. I told the older women that I learned in school that Halloween actually started earlier.

I carried a Wonder bread sack to put the candy in. All I was able to get was a few clumps of that ribbon-shaped candy. A few pieces of butterscotch and that was about it.

Happy Sisters Day!

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