Big sister. Bodyguards have nothing on me. No aviators necessary. I’m talking Solo Swat Team. Little bully in the park? You could see his feathers stand straight up when I offered to bury his skinny little ostrich neck in the park sand. Cousin pressures gullible sister to jump off a bridge? No problem. Dogs have puppies. Cats have kittens. And aunts can have more children.

    But even sisters can change. One day Washington became a Benedict and Shakespeare became Walt Disney. And a sister became a traitor.

    This change took place after our neighbors offered my sister and I a job taking care of their animals. Did we wonder why they were paying us so much money?


    After arriving at our neighbor’s farm, we strategized which animals to feed first. With all of the chickens fluttering around my feet, I led the way into the pasture feeling like Laura Ingalls Wilder in the prairie.

    Suddenly, my ears were ringing from a scream as loud as glass shattering on tile. Knowing my dear sister, I was aware of her irrational fears. Breathe too loudly in a quiet room, and she may be the pole bending Olympic champion, without the pole of course. Anger singed my face as I turned around to face her.

    “What is wrong with you?!”

    I could see a big chicken behind her, flying up at her legs.

    “This aggressive chicken keeps…” She screamed and jumped forward.

    “It’s just a chicken. It can’t hurt you.”

    As I looked closer at the rather large chicken, I realized my mistake. “Rooster.” The red beast was flailing at my sister’s legs.

    Like a British soldier he marched forward, bayonet hidden behind his bobbing rear. He blocked off the path back to the trench of our car. Like all good big sisters do, I ran – completely abandoning my baby sister. Away from the rooster, I ran off the path skipping over syrupy mud like trampolining off pancakes.

    Decisions. I looked at the rooster and then looked at the barbed-wire fence. Barb wire or talons? Injecting needles or injecting scissors? I didn’t care for either.

    To my advantage, the rooster became distracted and my sister and I tiptoed behind the brute.

    Like all brilliant, creative homeschoolers, we decided to stick to feeding the other animals first…with one small alteration to the plan.

    Bodyguard mode kicked back in after that first hiccup. In our neighbor’s garage was a plastic lightsaber and a garbage can lid.

    Armed, my sister and I, Darth Vader and garbageman, sneaked back to the pasture. We avoided direct contact and loss of casualties all the way to the rabbit pen. With rabbit feed in hand, my sister bequeathed me her shield, peasant-like as it was.

    The rooster shuffled speedily to where we stood, a fiery red duster. A faithful knight I was not. My armor solidified and rusted. I could see the treasure map in the chicken’s eye. Bucket. Food. Human!

    Round and round the chicken jousted with his lance held forth. Round and round my sister ran. And where did I stand? A mere observer, crying from laughter.

    Talk about reversal. From protective knight to hysterical peasant. The chicken finally caught my sister in the corner, flying up to her chest.

    At that moment, our neighbor called my phone and I answered between deep breaths of laughter.

    “Are you laughing or crying?” he asked.


    “Is everything, okay?”

    “Oh, yes. Everything is fine.”

    A blood-curdling scream.

    Knights have chinks in their armor. Leaders become traitors. And sisters have reversal moments.