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  • Writer's pictureMJ Rodriguez

My Sister Sally and Me

Out of five girls in our family, only two

remain—my sister Sally and me. She is child number three in a family of twelve, and I am number eight or nine, depending on which was born first, my twin Marvin or me. Dad said one, and Mom said the other.

We’ve always been alike in a lot of ways, especially in our looks—both blonde and blue eyed. When I was growing up, I was often called Little Sally. We both sang and played music, we both sewed for our families and for others, and, because we are teachers by calling, we both love to read and study, especially the Bible and materials about the Bible. When we’re together even now, our conversations most often center on Christian subjects. I became a school teacher, and she should have.

One time, one of our brothers sent us some cassette tapes of Biblical teachings on a topic we had never heard taught. We listened to them with intensity, hungry for the deep teachings we hadn’t experienced. When we were together, we talked about little else other than what we were hearing and learning from this teaching. We were so excited. I think some people wished we’d talk about something else.

We went shopping every Friday when my kids were small, and she was their other mom. In fact, some clerks mistakenly called her their grandma. I thought that was weird because she didn’t look old enough to be a grandmother, but she handled it with humor and played the role.

I never believed it when people said we looked alike until one Friday at Walmart we were separated. I looked all around until I saw her across the store. I wheeled my grocery cart in her direction and was surprised when I came face to face with a mirror. Umm, I guess we do look a lot alike after all!

We worked together doing VBS at church for many years. We did puppet shows and sang at local schools and churches, and for three consecutive years we performed at the Greene County Library for the children’s summer program. Sally, Peggy, and I along with our eight daughters, (Sally’s three, Peggy’s three, and my two) formed a Hillbilly band and performed at the library during the children’s summer program. We played our guitars, ukelele, rubboard, jug, and comb while we sang old fashioned songs we learned from our dad, C.A. Cook. We had a blast.

During one show in particular, my youngest daughter, who was 2-3 years old and sitting in the front row of the audience, pulled off her red ruffled panties and waved them above her head until Sally saw her. Sally took her by the arm and, without stopping talking, stuffed her into the puppet box with Peggy and me. We continued to work our puppets with one hand each and put her back into her underwear with our free hands. Then we shoved her back out to return to her seat. We didn’t miss a beat.

Sally and I often use each other for a sounding board and bounce thoughts off each other, working out our ideas and beliefs by talking about them. There have been times people thought we were arguing when we did that. I can honestly say I have never been angry at her. Aggravated a few times, maybe, be never angry. I hope she can say the same.

We are truly soul mates. We understand each other. I told her recently that we have to die at the same time, because we need each other. We work together doing volunteer work at a local food bank and at our church grading station for a Bible College/High School Diploma program. We’re helping prisoners across the nation earn diplomas and college degrees. We enjoy doing that and are assured that the seeds we’re planting will one day come to fruition.

She’s my sister, my friend, and my pastor, and I admire and respect her.

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