There is no particular reason as to why I am sharing this story with you. Maybe I have been thinking a lot about family this week or maybe Memorial Day brought this memory back to me but for whatever reason I have decided to share it with you. So here goes.. As the youngest of twelve children, I was lowest on the totem pole of life. Growing up there were phrases I heard regularly from my older siblings like: “Denise go get me …” whatever it was and of course I did as I was told because everyone was bigger than me. It is what happens in families. The older tells the younger what to do and down the line it goes. By the time it was my turn to boss someone, lucky for me I had a couple of nieces that fit the bill. Right Jodi and Dawn? Anyway this particular story is about some fancy sibling maneuvering by a clever brother who was always to clever for his own good.
In our family of seven boys, most of them enlisted in the army and had “guards” one weekend a month. My mom spent hours washing and pressing their uniforms so they looked pretty spiffy for inspection. Remember that bossing thing I mentioned before, well as a younger sibling, I was a prime candidate to learn how to salute, make their beds with military folded corners as well as how to march according to their cadence. There was one more thing my brother Verne taught me and that is how to “spit shine” his gold belt buckle and his combat boots. Being an eager student along with my desire to please him, I listened with rapt attention. At some point, this training got put into practice in a rather sneaky way. When Val and I were polishing the Sunday shoes, he said that if we would polish his army boots he would give us each a bag of Sugar Daddies. Do you remember those little caramel flavored jewels of fun? As a candy lover, it was a no brainer for me. So we spit-shined his boots along with his buckle and when we finished he said we did a great job. When the next month rolled around and it was time for him to go be a weekend warrior again, he came to Val and me with a familiar request. He raved about how his shiny boots were last month and stated that his boots had been the absolute shiniest of all the other soldiers. His buddies noticed how shiny his boots were and he closed the deal with saying that they were jealous. Our faces glowed with his praise, which made us totally ripe for his next suggestion that maybe we should polish his boots again just like the last time. With the promise of another treat, we polished them again… and again... and again… until we finally realized that he was yanking our chain. I think it only took us a few months or maybe six months to catch on to how his glowing words kept us polishing his boots. Yep we certainly were not quick to catch on to his trickery! As I said there was no particular reason for sharing this story however it is one that brings a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. Oh ya and the candy was great as well!