Avoid Steaming Mountain Dew & Other Sibling Lessons


The torture only siblings can inflict can truly form some of the closest bonds. From left Katie Tull Hartis, Stephanie Dicus Alsup, and Rachel Hogue. Photos courtesy Rachel Hogue

By Rachel Hogue

I once pulled a knife on my sister.

Granted, I was 7 and it was a butter knife, but I still remember the rage I felt that led me to such delinquency.

It was a Saturday, and I had waited all week to watch my Betamax tape of Punky Brewster. With my pink leg warmers and side ponytail, I moonwalked my way to the living room, only to have my joy stolen by a familiar synthesized musical score along with the pastel-colored shirts and boat shoes of Miami Vice.

My sister had beaten me to the television. and I could tell she was not going to easily give up her time slot.

In my best 7-year-old diplomatic voice, I tried to convince her why Soleil Moon Frye was a more titillating character than the collarless Don Johnson. I told her that the antics of a spunky young girl would be a better viewing experience than two hunky detectives, who, let’s face it, always solve the mystery.

My sister’s perfectly feathered brown head would hear none of it.

As I spoke, I could feel the anger welling up. I felt completely out of control and hopeless that I would never be able to know what happened to my dear Punky that week.

After about three minutes of failed negotiations, I resorted to violence.

She spun around and settled in to watch the golden locks of her favorite Miamian, while I went to our kitchen to hatch my plan. I slid open the silverware drawer and, with a shaky hand, pulled out the sharpest butter knife I could find (full disclosure, my sister’s version has me wielding a weapon similar to the sword of Sir Lancelot).

With trembling hands and a fierce love for torn fishnets and wind suits, I crept along the pea green carpet, passed the orange and brown floral love seat, and finally made it close enough to my sister that she sensed the danger.

She and her culottes swung around to find the crazy eyes of a blond-haired, blue-eyed, 60-pound, wrath-filled human.

This is the point in the story where I draw a blank.

I have no idea what happened next, or what resolution was reached. However, I do know two things:

  1. I did not shank my sister that day.
  2. My parents refused to let me change my name to Soleil Moon Frye.

The Tull sisters in the Awesome 80s. Clockwise from left are Stephanie, Rachel (a.k.a. Punky), and Katie.

Also, since we are on the subject of sibling cruelty, I would like to once and for all tell the world something my little sister has known for some 28 years. The steaming cup of yellow liquid that my friend Becca and I tried to get you to drink was not actually your favorite beverage, Mountain Dew. And, I would like to publicly apologize for the time I locked you outside butt-naked and for the fact that you knew what the word “swirly” meant when you were 3.

I am not proud of the fact that I have not always been a model sister, but these stories always bring deep belly laughs at Thanksgiving (along with some other tales that I shall never put in print). These are our stories, our memories, our belly laughs to share.

These two women who happen to share my DNA, are my best friends. They’ve seen me at my worst; cried with me through heartbreaks and losses; and celebrated my successes. We have cussed each other out; pulled each other’s hair; and had each other’s backs. We’ve held interventions, prayer vigils, and come-to-Jesus meetings. We’ve shared beauty advice, clothes, and bottles of wine. We’ve complained to each other about our parents (sorry, Mom and Dad), our kids, and our husbands. Through the years we’ve held each other’s hands at funerals, births, and illnesses.

As humans, we long to share a deep connection with others. We crave authentic relationships where we don’t have the burden of holding up our guards. The notion that we can fully show our strengths and imperfections to others and still be loved is appealing to our very core.

For those of you who don’t have a sibling, there is no need to fret. I believe God puts people in our lives (by blood or by circumstance) with whom we can share our journey. It is never too late, and we are never too old to make memories and create belly-laughing Thanksgiving stories.

Let’s celebrate our special relationships, cussing and all. I submit to you that each quirk, annoyance, and nuance of our family and friends is a blessing.

Life is hard. Bad things happen to good people. Disease wracks our frail bodies; jobs and paychecks are not guaranteed; and sometimes those we love fail us. Wouldn’t it make for an easier and more enjoyable journey if we shared our lives and allowed others to share their lives with us?

Let’s be thankful for those who love us in spite of ourselves; for those who share our lives from cradle to grave; for those we were lucky enough to find later in life; for all our best friends who teach us to watch out for life’s butter knives and steaming cups of Mountain Dew.

About mrsrhogue

I am the mother of 3 gentlemen, a Family & Consumer Science teacher, Zumba instructor, & youth ministry leader. I love to knit, crochet, surf Pinterest, & write! 😘

There are 4 comments

  1. Sue Powers

    Such warmth and humor!! Thanks for a reminder of familial bonds that mean so much😘 don’t know if you or Sunnyhuckle’s editor picked the video clip but it is one of my all time favorites!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Becca Cobb

    Oh my gosh, Rachel! I remember that like it was yesterday! I feel bad about the Mountain Dew incident to this day and also for dropping Katie on her head from a piggy back ride when she was really little! I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t have siblings younger than me and my older brother, Kevin, wasn’t as cruel as you and me!

    Liked by 2 people

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