My Favorite Sister

My favorite picture of the three days I spent with my favorite sister is one I carry only in my head: in it my sister Joan, her husband Mete and I are sitting around their kitchen table in Lafayette, IN, Joan and I on our netbooks, Mete on his Ipad, sipping tea and talking - yes, talking to each other. At the same time. It was a true communion of spirits.

Joan and I have had our differences in the past. I forget what they were now. My impression is that she was considered responsible and I was considered crazy. My take is that, over the years, I got more responsible and she got crazier, until finally we are able to see each other, to recognize some little part of ourselves in each other.

I mean, this is someone who insists on using grocery store aisles as a tread mill! And then takes you on a stroll through the gardens she has created around her home. "Look at those Acers! Aren't they lovely?" She points out a group of Japanese maples in the warm tones reserved for old friends. We examine the pond and the stands of native plants and flowers she has put in. "These coneflowers need more sun, don't you think?"

I enjoyed a lovely suite of rooms at the top of the stairs, openly coveted my brother-in-law's study with its long windows, wall-covered bookshelves and sweeps of work space. He took us to dinner and invited me to stay for a month or more. I said only if I could live in the study. I suspect he had second thoughts.

Joan drove me to see the Tippecanoe Battle Ground. Remember Tippecanoe and Tyler Too? Prophetstown? Tecumseh? This was the place where the hopes of the Eastern tribes were crushed. The 200th anniversary is coming up. There will be commemorations of one kind or another on this blood-soaked ground.

Still, it served my sister and I as one last place to come together before I left for Chicago. Yeah, she's my only sister. But she's my favorite sister for all that.

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