The Sister Alexander Manitoba
Growing up I only had a sister who was a year older and all through life all I heard was “your sister is smart what happened to you”? Well I grew up with common sense and street smarts while “the” sister was book smart. She was never “my” sister because she was more like a room mate as we grew up in the pink house in Alexander. We did fight and argue which is normal for room mates and I seemed to get blamed for starting most of them instead of the blame being equally shared. As young kids our parents would get the grand parents to look after us if the babysitter could not. Mother’s parents were upper class and lived in a fancy new house in the suburbs of Brandon. While dad’s parents were working class and had an older house down by the tracks. I hated going to mother’s parents place because I could do no right even if I just sat on the couch and watching CBC Hynm Sing before the Sunday family meal. Plus having to wear those fancy slippery shoes that caused me to slip and fall and get my good clothes dirty even if I was only walking a few feet. If mother dropped us during the week at her parent’s place there was nothing to do. The toy box only had educational toys which were not fun. The basement of this new house in the suburbs had nothing it is and was a big empty space which were not allowed to play in case we got dirty. The sister started bugging me and I hit her back because she hit me first. That is when mother’s mother came in to the room and laid a beating on my ass. My ass would never be this sore until I was about 30 years old and the hemorrhoids appeared from sitting on the concrete blocks at the Alexander School that we sat on to be cool. To this day I have no idea why my ass had to take a beating like that and yet the sister never got anything.
The straw that broke the camels back was when mother’s mother was going to take us shopping up town. The fancy 4 door sedan was parked in the garage attached to the house. The electric garage door opener which was state of the art in the 1970s opened the garage door. Mother’s mother got in the driver’ seat of the car while the sister and I got in through the back passenger door. I was first in because I called shotgun to sit behind the driver in the back seat. Back then you want to sit behind the driver because if we miss behaved, the driver would reach around to the back seat and smack us. If the driver could not reach us, the driver slammed the brakes on hard and since we were not strapped in with car seats or seat belts we slid forward in the back of the front seat. Now we were close enough for the driver to smack us. But sitting right behind the driver you had a little more protection from getting smacked. The sister was the last person in the 4 door sedan and didn’t close the passenger door. Mother’s mother put the car in reverse and backed out of the garage and ripped the open door off the car. You would think that once you heard crushing steel and wood breaking you would stop the vehicle before doing lots of damage. But mother’s mother backed of the garage and in the middle of the drive way. Of course it was my fault for not shutting the door. In my self defense I pointed out to everyone I was sitting behind the driver because I called shot gun. The sister was the last one in the car and didn’t shut the door. Plus she was the one sitting beside the door that was just ripped off when the car stopped. Of course I got a beating for lieing and not shutting the door. The sister got nothing and that was basically the last time I ever went to mother’s parents place. I would get dropped off at dad’s parents place because they had lot more fun toys and a basement full of old junk.
Nothing really changed growing up with the room mate “the sister”, I was always blamed for things I never did at home or at school. The best way to deal with things was just do my own things my way. With the sister being 1 year older then I was, she got her driver’s license first which was a license to destroy vehicles. I had to work and save money and build my vehicles to drive. The sister would get a car given to her to drive which I found strange because she never really worked. Always in her room studying or at school for school sports or actives. When I asked where the car came from, mother just told me cousin Eddie on your father’s side twice removed died and we got the car in his last Will and Testament. These “once upon a time” stories worked on the sister but not me because I’m street smart. It did not take long and the sister wrecked that car. She called me at 4am to come and get her at this farm house because the car was in the ditch. Dad and mother were at a hot rod run so I was home alone and answered the phone. I got in my 67 Chevy truck and drove to the farm where my sister called from. No cell phones back then so walking to the nearest farm was common to use the phone.
I arrive at the farm house and pick up the sister and I ask why she is at this farm hours because it is not on the way home from your friend’s house. Of course the sister does not know how to explain her self but when we arrive at her car in the ditch she forgot to mention it was wrapped around a hydro pole. Of course I’m mad because I didn’t bring recovery equipment to get a wrecked car out of the ditch I only brought a chain to drag a stuck car out of the ditch. The sister was on the wrong mile road and instead of it being the straight through road it was a tee intersection this a hydro pole in the middle. It was the not the first time this hydro pole had been hit by a vehicle on the wrong road. The 67 Chevy truck did a lot of spinning to get the wreck car out the ditch and drag back home. Once at home it was still dark enough so the neighbours did not see us put the wrecked car in the shop. As a new driver if you had an accident you could lose your license so reporting and accident was not worth it. Plus insurance met nothing back then and only increase your monthly payments.
My parents came home late that night to see dad’s coupe sitting outside which is not to happen unless there was a good reason. Dad went and check what was in the shop and never said anything to mother because she would be upset. The sister would explain the accident to her on how it was not her fault for the hydro pole being there. I got up in the morning to go to school and dad really said nothing at the breakfast counter other then good work son. That is when I pointed out to him that he should power buff those scratches on his coupe from when the cheap yard sale garage door fell on it. Dad knew that was a good comment because he cheaped out in buying a new garage door to replace the one I broke and paid for. Mother never said a word as she read her book and drank her morning coffee while puffing on a cigarette because the sister never said anything yet. When I got home late that night dad’s coupe was not parked outside and I didn’t see the wrecked car any where in the yard. I just went to bed and in the morning at breakfast I asked dad where the wrecked car went because there was a lot of good parts on it. All dad said his friend picked it up with his tow truck and end of conversation. Ok is all I said to him and headed off to school then work. With in the next couple days another replacement car appear at the Barnes House Hold in Alexander. When I ask where this car came I got the same story but with cousin Edward dying instead of cousin Eddie. Oh well is all I had to say because I will always remember these little details.
Naughty Natalie and I were enjoying a nice Saturday night at the biker bar in downtown Brandon. When we were up on the dance floor having a nice slow dance holding each other tight, the music stopped all of a sudden. Then the DJ focused the spotlight on the 4 ladies standing at the entrance to the biker bar. I caught who these ladies were and buried my head in Naughty Natalie’s hair and neck in hopes of hiding. The lady heading this group of ladies was the sister. Now with the spot light shining on them you could see they were dressed for the 1980s disco scene. With long black coats and lot of make up and the hair spray hair that makes the hair stand up and out. The sister yells in to the dark silent bar is Bradley Barnes here. Bradley is my birth name and when mother or the sister say it in no matter what pitch of voice they use, it is the same as finger nails on the chalk board and a shiver goes down your spine. That is when the DJ turns the spot light on to Naughty Natalie and I on the dance floor. Of course we are are holding each other tight as if the music didn’t stop and both my hands are hold her ass cheeks tight in those painted on blue jeans she always wears. I just keep my head on her shoulders in hopes this is all a bad dream. The sister showing in a biker bar dressed like that is about the same as the KKK members stopping in at an all black bar. Then the sister yells across the bar to me that her car won’t start. Then the whole bar gives her around of applause. When the clapping is done I yell to the sister to go back to her car and we will be right there.
Naughty Natalie and I finish our drinks and drive over to the disco bar to arrive at the same time as the 4 disco queens. We were lucky because there was an empty parking spot beside the sister’s car. With the 37 Dodge hot rod parked beside the sister’s car, I work on getting access to the battery behind the bucket seats in the small cab. Yes great place to put the battery and 46 years later it has not been improved with a better location. As I do the battery, Naughty Natalie gets the booster cables out of the plywood camper on the back of the 37 Dodge. Then she opens the hood on the sister’s car and hooks up the booster cables. When she passes me the cables she tells me which jumper clamp is red because I’m colour blind. I stay holding the booster cables on the 37 Dodge while Naughty Natalie gets the sister cars up and running. Of course the sister left the head lights on which drained the battery. Once everything is put a way the sister want us to follow her back home to Alexander in case the car quits. Naughty Natalie tells her the car is charging and all is good it is because you left the head lights on that killed the battery. The sister is still not happy and we end up following her back home. But first we have to follow here all over Brandon dropping off her 3 disco queen friends.
The 1980s disco was a weird time with the big hair and lots of make up plus the way they talked and acted. In the real world you pull up to the person’s house they jumped out quickly and the you pulled away. But these disco queens have to lean over and pretend to kiss each on either side of the face then do stupid waves and they exit the vehicle and the vehicle pulls away. Watching all this from the 37 Dodge as the head lights shined on the back of the sister’s car. A s we watched we made had to make funny comments as if it was a Mr. Bean comedy show on TV. Finally the sister drops off the last disco queen and we head down the highway to Alexander. The sister is a terrible driver at night with one foot on the gas and the other on the brake. The number of times the brake lights came on for no reason I’m sure the bulbs will be burnt out by next week.
At the Kemnay Manitoba S curves which has claimed a few lives over the years, the sister went through these curves at such a reduced speed the 37 Dodge was having a hard time because it was a speed between which the gears in the transmission would not allow. On any given night on the drive home to Alexander and if the there was no traffic, the 37 Dodge enjoyed these S curves. You enter the curves at 55 mph and then down shift from 4th gear to 3rd gear and kick the gas pedal down. The truck was built for speed and handling and as long as you kept the speed and power it would pull you through the S curves with no problems. Once on the straight stretch put the transmission back in 4th gear at about 80mph and of course slide your hand up Naughty Natalie's leg to make her smile. Take your foot off the gas and let the engine slow you down in the 2 miles to the town of Kemany. If Naughty Natalie was driving she would do the same as I did but only take the truck up to 70mph. When she put the transmission in to 4th gear she would slide her hand up my leg to make me smile. That is when I learned as a man that there is a 90% chance before bath and treat is going to place you will say something to offend the woman. Then she will say the word “fine” which is a question and you have to figure out what is wrong. So I learned it is best not to say anything like my dad does.
It was the longest 50 minutes of our lives to get to home to the pink house in Alexander. I told the sister to park her car at the shop before we left Brandon but she forgot by the time she arrived home. As I get the sister to move her car over to the shop so I can put the battery charge on slow charge for the rest of the night. Naughty Natalie heads in to the house to use the only bathroom in the house because we were not allowed to use mother’s unless were were dying. Plus I really never wanted to use mother’s bathroom located in her bedroom. Once the sister was in the house she will be in the bathroom for over an hour removing the make up and getting her hair to lay flat. When I come in the house I go straight to my bedroom and Naughty Natalie is already in my bed and asleep. In the morning we wake up, eat the corn flakes and leave because Naughty Natalie has to work and so do I. Dad and mother will be back tonight after attending a hot rod run on the weekend.
I arrive home from work and everything is the same like all other times when I get home around midnight. Mother is in bed and dad is asleep in his recliner chair and I turn off the TV. In the morning I came down for breakfast and the minute I walk through mother’s cigarette smoke to get to the kitchen she is mad. Then she raises her voice as she sits in her chair puffing on her cigarette and drinking her morning coffee. I do not really listen to what she is saying or chattering about but it something about Naughty Natalie and I have sex all over the house, even on the kitchen table. I just ignore what she is saying and answer dad’s questions about the car not starting. He asks about the charging system and I reply that Naughty Natalie said it was good. Then he ask about the belt on the alternator and i told him Naughty Natalie says it was good. I told dad I had nothing to do with the sister car because I was too busy with the terrible location of the battery on the 37 Dodge. He agreed on the battery being in a bad spot then I asked him if the sister had told him that she left the head lights on and he replied no. Then I pointed out that the way mother is talking about us having sex all over the house, the sister ratted me out. All dad said was “another life lesson”.
That is when mother came in to the kitchen to express her views of us having sex on the kitchen table. That is when I lost it on her and explain that the sister ruined our evening and we dropped everything to help her out because she was dumb enough to leave the head lights on that killed the battery in her car which was gifted from cousin Edward to her. Then I pointed out I burned up my gas making sure her disco queen friends made it home safely. As for having sex all over your house some of us might be too tired after going to school all day then working to make a living. After I moved out of the pink house and was living in Brandon I never had much to do with the sister. She had her life and I had mine and we only share the same last name because we were room mates not family.
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