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My Sister Shelby

Deborah Krider, Smashwords Edition

Copyright© 2010 by Deborah Krider

My sister, Shelby, was six years younger than me, making her eight, and I fourteen the summer of ‘76, the bicentennial.

My family owned a cabin that sat on a small lake in central Minnesota and we spent the entire summer up there that year. My sister and I loved it there for the water, wilderness, and freedom. Our parents spent a lot of time with the adult neighbors, taking long pontoon rides together or enjoying cocktails on one deck or another. Us neighbor kids got to do pretty much as we pleased because we never went far for long and we were safe there. And with an endless supply of activities like swimming, hiking, tree forts and treasure hunts, we were never bored.

Gary and Gerta Fleming lived down the road from us and stayed up year round. Their cozy little cottage skirted a bay that was tethered to our lake by a winding creek. They owned Banner, a six year old gelded quarter horse with a chestnut coat, black mane and tail, four white socks, and a white stripe down his face. But what was unremarkable in his coat was made up for in his eyes. Blue. An icy blue so pale everyone thought he was blind at first meeting him.

Shelby adored Banner and the feeling was mutual. He never failed to eagerly trot up to the fence when Shelby called him. I used to think his excited approach was in hopes that she’d pluck an apple from the Flemings yard. But that wasn’t so. He just relished the hours of attention she lavished on him. Shelby pet him, scratched behind his ears, sang to him, and pulled the long sweet grass outside his confines for him. Our folks scolded her many times for steeling the sugar bowl, bringing the entire thing up to Banner. Shelby, who certainly could be a smart mouth from time to time said if we kept some sugar cubes around for him, she wouldn’t have to forsake our precious reserve. Mom hid the sugar bowl for a week after that remark.

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