Happy birthday to my very first camping buddy

There may have been times when I was growing up that I wished I were an only child. But for the most part, I was glad to have the sister I had.

Today’s my sister’s birthday. She’s a vet in Riverton, so she’s probably got her arm in a very intimate place on a cow right now. If you can hear me, Stock Doc, happy birthday.

She’s my older sister, but she’s no longer my big sister. We switched places on the size scale decades ago, but it took me a number of years to realize I had gotten bigger than she was. Funny how that seems to work. You get used to looking up to your older siblings, and even when you’re taller, you still feel like you’re looking up to them.

We had our share of arguments, but for the most part, we got along pretty well. When we went camping, we were closer than ever. Part of that may have been a survival instinct, because our dad had a tendency to get us… well, misplaced. To his credit, he never got us lost. At least not by his definition. Dad will tell you if you lose something, you never find it again. But if you find it, it was only misplaced.

The first pack trip I can remember going on with my family involved one of Dad’s shortcuts. My sister and I were too young to do any of the heavy lifting, so when we found ourselves in a bit of a pickle and had to unload the horses and haul the gear by hand up a steep hill, us kids got to kick back and relax.

On another trip several years later, it never quit raining the whole week we were camping. We had packed in 10 miles, so it wasn’t like we could just say heck with it, and jump in the truck and head home. We tried to wait out the rain, but it won.

Those are just a couple of examples of times in my life that could have been a lot worse if it weren’t for the company of a great big sister. She was my protector, my second mom, and my disciplinarian, but she was also my hero. And most importantly, she was my friend. And she still is. Happy birthday, Moose.

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