“How My Sister Tried to Shoot Me,” Jan. 10, 2023

Note: I recently retired from writing a column, but some of you have asked me to repost old ones. This one is from 2006.

Sometimes if I’m feeling low, I call my sister and it’s like candy, how Bobbie cheers me up. Never mind that she once tried to shoot me. Yes, with a gun. Yes, on purpose. No, I’m not making it up.

I have an eye witness who will back me up, if he knows what’s good for him. But let’s not dwell on that. Far be it from me to hold a grudge against my only sister, even if she never said she was sorry.

Forgiveness usually requires repentance, but I afforded her grace for three good reasons: One, she’s my sister; two, I’m still alive; and three, by the time Bobbie repents, I’ll be dead of old age.

But enough about that. I want to tell you about how she brightens my day. Here are some examples:

When we were little girls, our parents split up. But Bobbie told me that sisters never split up, they always stick together.

When our brother was born blind, she said his blindness wouldn’t matter to anybody, except to people who didn’t matter.

When I won a scholarship and went off to college, and she stayed behind with three babies and a bad marriage, she told me to be safe, have fun and make her proud.

When I left the South to live my life in California of All Places, she flew out to be matron of honor at my wedding and let her 3-year-old scatter rose petals in my path.

When my first husband died, she put me to bed and made me rest. Six months later, she took me to Mexico and made me pose for a picture with a live chimpanzee.

Years later, when I brought my former editor to the South to meet my family, she told me if I didn’t marry him, she would.

So I married him. But that is not to say that jealousy was a motive in her nearly shooting me. OK, here’s that story:

One summer, when I flew home with my new husband for a family reunion, my sister loaned us her car to pick up my kids at the airport. As we were leaving, I suddenly recalled what she always kept handy in the glove compartment.

“Wait here,” I told my husband, “I’ll be right back.”

I ran back in the house and found her half-asleep in her recliner.

“Sissy!” I said. “Wake up! Your gun is still in the car!”

She yawned. “My what?”

“Your gun!”

“Well, bring it in,” she said.

“I’m not touching it!”

“It won’t hurt you!”

I crossed my arms and gave her a look. She made a face, got up and stomped out to the car, mumbling words I won’t repeat.

My husband was sitting in the driver’s seat listening to a baseball game on the radio. He raised an eyebrow when he saw us.

As Bobbie opened the car door and bent down to reach into the glove box, she made a totally rude remark about my character. Never mind what.

And then, OK, I’ll just go on and tell you: I poured a Diet Pepsi down the back of her pants.

It had not occurred to me that, at that very moment, she might already have the gun in her hand. I began to suspect it, however, by the look on my husband’s face — the same look I once saw when we went for a walk and a bulldog ran up and bit a chunk out of his arm.

Imagine my surprise when Bobbie’s head spun around like Linda Blair’s in “The Exorcist.” And then, yes, she fired off a shot.

Never mind that she fired it up in the air. My husband didn’t know that. Suffice it to say, hers were not the only pants that were wet.

Bobbie claims that it was all my fault. And that, if she had actually shot me, she’d have gotten off free and clear on grounds known in the South as “The fool needed killing.”

Still, there is one good thing about that incident. I mean, besides the fact that she didn’t kill me.

Since that day, if I call her up and she’s not home? It still cheers me up like candy, just to think of my sister, and the sound that Diet Pepsi made gurgling down her pants.


  1. So glad you are republishing your columns, please continue. Let us know if you publish another collection of them (like Birdbaths and Paper Cranes), which would be great. I enjoy them and you so much! Take care of yourself and your family!

  2. This is one of my very favorite columns Sharon!! We are sitting here eating dinner and I had to stop and read it to my husband. Thank you for repeating it. By the way, how is your sister doing? Glad you are safe from all the rain.

  3. Debbie Kusiak says

    I appreciate the repost. I was wondering & hoping that you & your family are doing well & that the rains aren’t coming near your homes. God bless!

  4. Jo Anne Roberts says

    What? Last column? I didn’t know. Fiddle-e-dee. But, I do understand, even if it means I will miss laughing or crying or remembering some of the great stories you tell. I am retired and loving it, so I hope you are too–since I don’t have a choice in the matter. Thank you for the years of columns, and the book. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading them. Stay well and happy.

  5. Sydney S Love says

    You my friend are on e of the best ! You have made me laugh, you have made me cry and you have taught me so much in the years that I have been reading your column. I know since the late 90’s. Many times I have commented on what you wrote. OI hne year in the late 90’s I wrote you a long letter telling you some things going on in my life. It was some hard years but things you wrote in your column helped me through them. I felt like I was telling my best friend those things. As I started to read you last column I knew in my heart that you were going to say it was your last. It broke my heart. I totally understand. I had retired but circumstances caused me to go back to work in the last year so I have missed so many of your columns. I will definitely go back to read them. I hope you will enjoy your retirement and that you and your husband will get to visit those grandbabies and watch them grow. Thank you for all the years you have given us and May God Bless you in your new adventures.

  6. LOL. OMG

  7. Beautiful funny memory!! I am so thankful you are going to repost your columns. You always make my day brighter. Please never stop this. God bless & keep you safe from your sister.

  8. Katie Musgrave says

    HA HA YOU BRIGHTENED MY DAY! I see now why you live in the west. Back home is too WILD!

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