October 27, 2008
By Paige Agan, Jonesboro, AR

My siblings all seemed to be the same; they all seemed to generally like obeying and being good kids. For me however, I found being good difficult. Maybe I was a little too stubborn, but I never quite understood all the rules that were forced upon me, so what other choice did I have than to break them. It was especially hard for me to obey Mamma. She seemed to find joy in stamping out our fun with all the crotchety rules she put in place and that just crawled all over me. Daddy on the other hand, rarely ever bossed me around so when he did I usually took his word for it. I reckon they must have had a hard time raising us, due to the fact that we did come sixteen years after my older three siblings.
I had four siblings, Jimmy, Billy, J.R., and Lee, the oldest. Lee is the oldest and sixteen years my “elder.” She was forced to mother me, to both of our dismay, and though we could irritate each other to tears, I still loved her. Sometimes I would even allow myself to feel a momentary reflection of pity seeing as she did have to put up with me instead of spending time with her friends and boys and such, which was still a wonder to me at nine. However, I must say these moments of pity were only fleeting when they were overruled by the memories of some of the spankings she gave me. Then there was Billy. I got along a lot easier with Billy but he too sometimes gave me whoopings when Lee wasn’t around and for this we had our little conflicts. He had Lee’s pleasant nature and always helped Daddy on the farm. He was a good brother and I loved him. After Billy was JR. JR was a good brother too but he sometimes had the same mischievous nature as myself, sometimes. He was like Billy and Lee a lot though, especially in his protectiveness of Jimmy and me!
Now Jimmy, well he was my very best friend. Jimmy and me were only twenty- two months apart and since we were so close in size, we were often mistaken for twins. I believe Jimmy had the sweetest disposition of all of us and rarely did he ever speak harshly. In fact, most of the trouble he got in was either to cover for me or because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings by not coming along on one of my adventures. I think he partly felt protective of me and I was the same way with him. Jimmy had problems speaking when he was younger and I was his interpreter. He also wore thick round glasses that gave him the most curious facial expressions ever. But I loved them and he could make me smile even in the worst moods.
At school sometimes, teachers had difficulty understanding Jimmy but I made sure he didn’t get self-conscience about it. In fact, his first year in school I caught one boy in my grade mocking him behind Jimmy’s back and before Jimmy even realized it, I had tackled the boy to the ground. I wailed on that boy as hard as I could as tears of anger streamed down my face. I don’t remember how but someone finally managed to drag me off of him. That day I am proud to admit I gave a boy his first black eye and though my pride was deeply hurt when I got my paddling in front of the class, I saved Jimmy from embarrassment. I sure got it when I got home though. Mamma whipped me with all her might. However, she did promise me not to tell Jimmy why I had hit the boy. Though Mamma never did admit to it, I have always believed that she was right proud of me for defending Jimmy. There was something in the expression and fire of her eyes that betrayed a subtle relief that I did not allow for other’s to look down on and pick on my Jimmy. Daddy didn’t say much and as I walked into the kitchen with a hurt pride and a sore behind, he called me to him. He picked me up on his lap and with a twinkle in his eye he asked me a question I will always remember.
“Well, sister, was it worth it?” His face was serious but there was something in his eyes that encouraged my answer.

I looked him square in the eyes and said, “Honestly, Daddy, I have never been so proud of myself in my life. That boy had no right to make faces at Jimmy. I couldn’t just stand by and let him do that. I am not sorry.”

For a split second, I regretted my answer but immediately Daddy’s face broke out into a wide grin. He kissed me on my cheek, wiped away my tear, and sent me off to bed. To this day I feel no remorse for punching that boy, though I never told Mamma, ‘cause she would have skinned Daddy and me both. From then on no one ever said anything about Jimmy either to his face or behind his back, at least not within ear or eyeshot of me.

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This article has 1 comment.

ann said...
on Nov. 7 2008 at 8:10 pm
You go GIRL!


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