Back in 1948, I dominated my three-year-old sister, Margaret Mary, who I like to call Sister Margaret. I am her older brother and taking my lead she calls me, Brother Joseph. Sister Margaret got a later start in life so she ended up being two years younger than me. Decades have passed, but she never caught up. She still is two years younger.
Our birth order catapulted me into the position of being able to dominate her as my kid-sister. I gave her unsolicited advice her entire life. I was always telling her what to do; that is until I started stretching into my senior years.
Now the sands of time have caused things to shift including who dominates whom**. I am an old guy pushing 75. She is a young 73. Now she tells me what to do to protect her older brother from harm.
Sister Margaret, who really goes by Peg*, tells me, “Joe, be sure to wear your seatbelt. Joe, you need to install handrails in your home for safety.” I don’t get it. I live in a one level home. We don’t have inside stairs. My rambler style home sits 2” off the earth’s surface so there are no entry stairs either.
Following Peg’s advice, I installed handrails in my hallway anyway. I just did not want to incur my baby sister’s wrath, nor do I want to hear one of those “I told you so’s.
Recently Peg has been pushing me to install a bar in my walk-in shower. She continually tells me, “Brother Joseph, you are pushing 75. You could fall in the shower and break your hip. Listen to your baby sister. You need to install a bar in your shower.”
So, I ask you? What could I do? I installed a bar in my shower.
*Note 1: My sister Peg is not to be confused with the Peg who is married to the award winning The Suburban Times writer, Don Doman.
**Note: While I chose the word whom over the word who to end this sentence, I did not do so with abundant confidence. Because of my relationship Ms. Mary Hammond, known as The Perfectionist in grammatical circles, I was able to confirm with one 7:15a phone call that whom is the proper word selection.
Word selection is just one of the many struggles faced by budding writers. Word selection can be a writer’s pitfall you might say. If the writer fails to select the proper word then his writing would be pitiful, you might say.
I think you may be onto something here….
Larry king says
Wow, vodka and Kahlua! A Black Russian. Try to not get any soap or water in it. Keep the caps on tight.
Joseph Boyle says
Funny thing. Ever since I took my sister Peg’s advice by installing a bar in the shower, I have been falling down a lot more.
Mary Hammond says
Good story, Joe. But when you consulted me about your use of “who” or “whom” in paragraph 3, you failed to divulge your intention to use one or the other in paragraph 1, sentence 1: “. . . my sister Margaret Mary, who I like to call Sister Margaret.”
Technically speaking, the correct choice there would have been “. . . whom I like to call Sister Margaret.” Yes, I know that sounds awkward, because most of us, most of the time, would use “who” here, especially in casual conversation. Since you’re a casual guy, I’ll cut you a little slack on this one. (If I were to encounter this dilemma in my own writing, I would probably choose to rewrite the sentence, in order to avoid having to use either the incorrect “who” or the awkward “whom.”
Now, about your punctuation . . . .
Peg Boyle Morgan says
Well, Joe, not what I had in mind. But, hey, life is short. Enjoy!
thanks for putting a smile on my face this morning
Jessie Garza, Jr. says
As usual; I really enjoyed reading your story and reflections on your growing up with your sister. Your humor is always interesting and funny to say the least. Thanks for sharing!
Loved it, Joseph!