“Stories, True or Not,” Sept. 22, 2020

Birthdays should be celebrated with somebody who loves you. Even if the “somebody” refuses to spend five hours on a plane breathing through a mask just to come sing “Happy Birthday.”

I adore my sister. We don’t always see eye-to-eye, but isn’t that how it is with family? You love being together, talking, laughing, telling stories, trying hard to avoid a fist fight.

My sister and I are like peas in a pod. Except when we’re like peas shot from peashooters aimed at each other’s eyes.

It started the day I was born. Bobbie was almost 6 years old, the apple of everyone’s eye. Then I showed up, a new bud on the family tree. Was it my fault I was adorable? Of course not.

She swears she was happy to share the spotlight. But she swears to lots of things that are not exactly true. For example:

The Christmas I was 4 and she was 10, I wanted a bride doll and she wanted a BB gun. Instead, she got the doll and I got a plastic tea set. She swears she gave that doll to me. No. She gave it to our cousin Sandy, who then helped her wrestle a BB gun away from our cousin Larry.

When I was 17, and Bobbie was 23, we spent a weekend at the beach, where I accidentally splashed her in the pool. She looked like a drowned rat. Vowing to get even, she put her hair in pincurls, covered it with a wig, and challenged me to a dual in the bumper car arena.

Somehow, my bumper car accidentally rammed into hers. And her wig flew off and landed like a dead squirrel on the floor. When they stopped the cars to retrieve it for her, everybody laughed and hooted. Bobbie swore I bumped her on purpose. No, I said, accidents happen.

Thirty years later, when I lost my first husband to cancer, Bobbie stayed by my side, cheered up my kids and let me rest. Then she took me to Mexico and made me pose for a photo with a live chimpanzee. She doesn’t deny any of that. She’s proud of it. So am I.

Here’s my favorite story about my sister. Every word is true.

After seven years as a widow, I finally took my former editor to the Carolinas, to meet my family. Everybody liked him.

“If you don’t marry him,” Bobbie said, “I will.”

So I married him. A year later, when we visited her again, Bobbie offered to let us use her car. We were leaving her house to run an errand when suddenly I recalled what she kept in the glove box.

“Wait here,” I told my husband. I ran inside where my sister was watching TV.

“Sissy,” I said, “your gun is still in the glove box!”

“Well, bring it in,” she said.

“I’m not touching it!”

“Fine!” she said. She followed me out to the car muttering words I won’t repeat.

My husband was sitting in the driver’s seat listening to a game on the radio. Bobbie opened the passenger door. Reaching for the glove box, she glanced back at me and hissed, “Wimp!”

What happened next was not my fault. As she leaned into the car, a gap between her back and her elastic waistband parted like the Red Sea.

And I poured a Diet Pepsi down her pants.

Little did I know she already had the gun in her hand. When she whirled around and fired, my poor husband couldn’t see that she had missed me. Let me assure you, her pants were not the only ones that were wet.

Bobbie claims, if she had killed me, she’d have been set free due to a justifiable defense called “the fool needed killing.”

The stories we tell about our loved ones reveal not only who they are, but why we love them.

My sister has a birthday soon. We’ll celebrate apart, but near at heart. I’ll phone to sing “Happy Birthday,” and say “so glad you were born,” and remind her of stories she swears aren’t true.

I’ll promise to come see her again someday, in this world or the next. And she might promise not to shoot me. But I doubt it.


  1. Susan Vorisek says

    There are three things that make Sundays special: Church, family time and your stories! You have a beautiful gift for putting family life into words. I especially like the story of your sister and her gun. Today’s story had me laughing until I had tears rolling down my face! Thank you.
    God Bless you and your loved ones.

  2. Kathy Armstrong says

    You make me laugh out loud😂!! Thank you for being such a bright spot in our lives!!

  3. Allison holshouser says

    Happy Birthday to your sister. My birthday was also on September 22. People friends from the church came over and we had a socially distance gathering.

  4. Kate Sciacca says

    Your sister and I would git’ long jest fiiiine…. she sounds like a “real Nevadan” to me…. yep…..Justifiable…. some fools jest ‘need killin’. Thanks for some great laughs…. so necessary these days 😉

  5. Sarah Christopher says

    Oh, Sharon, I am rolling on the floor laughing!!! I wish I knew Bobbie better. The last time I saw either of you was at a HS multi-class reunion but I can’t remember where it was…..maybe Saluda?
    Hope you are staying safe. You certainly do bring smiles to us all. With love, Sarah

  6. Pat Marshall says

    I had an older sisrer. She was 7 and a half years older. I always felt that it was my job to make her life miserable. Do you remember Eveing in Paris perfume? Well she had some hid in her drawer. Of course I got it. That really got me in trouble with our mom. She also had to watch me in the summer while our parents were at work. That didn’t go over too good as she wanted to spend time with her friends. We always had each other’s back. She passed aways several years ago. I think about her often.

  7. Paula Jennings says

    Love these stories….So PRECIOUS, So Funny!💗💗. Happy Birthday Blessings to your Bobbie.🎂🍧🍨🍭🌼🌺🌷💗

  8. Happy birthday to your sister!

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