Happy Birthday, Gayle~

“A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit,

a golden thread to the meaning of life.”

*Isadora James

Today I celebrate my sister.

We grew up in the middle of twenty acres of woods at the bottom of Bunk Foss Road.  We made our own fun, carving trails through the underbrush and camps beneath the vine maple.  In the backyard we built tracks and obstacle courses for our bikes, making a competition for us four Campbell kids.  We camped up the Icicle River at Johnny Creek, where our dad put a log across an inlet to keep us from the rapids. We splashed and searched for rubies under the moss on the rocks that lined our pool.  (Edna told us that’s where rubies came from!) There’s a good reason they call it the Icicle!  That water was COLD!  We camped in the Tumwater Canyon with cousins and grandparents, S’mores and roasted weenies.

My sister was horse crazy, and was so thrilled when our folks bought her a brown and white Shetland pony named Dixie.  Shetland ponies can be stubborn and Dixie was, but she met her match with my sister.  Dixie bucked, Gayle stuck to her back like glue.  She’d ride our wooded trails until almost dark, then turn Dixie toward the barn, put her head down and away they’d go, homeward bound.  Being the youngest meant she was alone to catch the elementary school bus.  This also meant there was an occasion for her to hide behind a tree along our driveway as mom went to work. ‘oh, darn, I missed the bus!’ and she had an impromptu Dixie day.

In the evenings after dinner, we would set up our long dining room table as a classroom.  I, being the oldest, was the teacher, of course.  I spent many hours drilling knowledge into my baby sister’s head.  “Come on!  Learn this stuff, and you can skip grades and be in my class!”  To us, that would have been the best thing!  The teachers or whomever it was that makes the decision to ‘skip’ a kid ahead, did not see eye to eye with our plan.  She was destined to follow me through the hallowed halls of SHS.

I taught my sister to drive.  In my beetle, we cruised and practiced on the backroads.  Through Machais, around 3 lakes, up to Granite Falls…sometimes we laugh when we recall big rocks and sharp turns…and we are glad we both survived my instruction.  We’ve enjoyed many road trips over the years.  She drove mom and dad’s big T~bird on our trip to Yellowstone, dodging prairie dogs all the way, mom and dad calling from the back seat, ‘quit swerving, just hit the damn things!’ Then there was our road trip to East Wenatchee that still gives us shivers.  We encountered Ted Bundy on the river shore.  Of course we didn’t know it at the time, it was just before he hunted his victims at Lake Samamish.  But we know it was him.  Lucky us, we survived that road trip!

She stood beside me when I got married and when my babies came along, she became the cool auntie.  When she brought her babies into the world, I was with her, my baby sister having a baby~ so sweet!

Recently she invited me to share her latest adventure.  Having purchased a second home in the sunshine of Arizona, we (husbands in tow) arrived on a Wednesday afternoon to check it out.  As new homes usually are, it was empty.  A bit more than daunting, I think, but she had a list and we had a plan.  First stop Costco, then Thursday morning, up and at ’em, we began to hit estate sales.  I was the navigator, plugging addresses into the GPS.  We circled the greater Sun City area more times than we could count.  Between the four of us, (that’s eight eyes on the prize!), we managed to fill the car and the borrowed truck many times over and by Saturday night were nestled in our own cozy beds in her lovely desert home.  What a team!

Today I celebrate my sister.  But not only that, I celebrate my best friend.  Happy, Happy birthday! Love you Sissy, here’s to many more good times and great adventures!

“Shoulder to shoulder, who stands a chance against us?” *Pam Brown



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