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Caris Thetford


Not long ago, my husband and I went to the Plowboy Kickoff party at Melody Mountain Ranch in Huckaby. We went to drink beer, socialize, and enjoy the talents of Texas singers Mike Graham, Rusty Weir, and Larry Joe Taylor. Basically, we were there to fully immerse ourselves in an environment of fuzzy-edged fun. I had not come to think, not about anything deep, anyway. It’s funny where, and how, you can be when something from your past or from the back of your mind comes surging up and crashes into your heart. It’s something that has been tied up and stored away inside, and all of a sudden, it breaks loose, and it lands deep in your heart, and it fills up all the way to your eyes, and eventually pours over the rims. You can’t foresee it, and, therefore, you can’t control it.

            At the party, there were two young sisters, probably about five and six years old, who got up in front of the stage during one of the sets and started dancing. They were running around on their tiptoes, throwing their arms in the air, spinning around, grabbing each other’s hands and spinning around together. leaping, and laughing. Those sisters danced and danced and danced. They danced for hours—almost until the end of the night. My husband and I were watching and laughing at their innocent, unafraid, energetic, sweet antics, and I leaned over asked him, “Do you think that they will remember dancing together like this when they grow up?” He kind of laughed and replied, “I doubt it.” I thought that was sad, but probably true.

            The moment made me think of my mom and her little sister, my Aunt Carol. Carol passed away about five months ago from a four-year, losing battle with melanoma. It was one of life’s I-hate-you-and-I’m-going-to-take-something-very-precious-away-from-you events. Since that day five months ago, I still don’t know how my mother copes with the death of her one and only little sister.

            She used to tell my brother and me stories from when she and Carol were children. The one story that I remember the best s when Mom would tell us about Carol following her and a friend around—even though they tried to tell her to go home—and falling into a pole of ants. She told us about how much trouble she got in for that, and if Carol would have just done her own thing and left them alone, everything would have been fine. It was a big joke at Thanksgivings when my mom’s side of the family would get together. I bet Mom’s glad now that Carol followed her that day. I think that, really, she was always glad, because by brother and I heard that story many times. Watching those two sisters dancing together at the kickoff party made me wonder if my mom and Carol ever danced together like that: carefree, oblivious to anything but the music and each other. I guess they probably did. I hope that they did because I think it would be an awful shame not to share a moment like that with a sister, if you’re lucky enough to have one.

            I never did have a sister. It has always just been my older brother and me. I love my brother, but I’ve always been envious of what my mom and Carol had. I have always wanted a sister, and for all I know, I might actually have one. You see, my parents adopted me when I was seven months old. My biological mother was young, unwed, uneducated, and did not think that she had what it took to be a mother, so she put me up for adoption. Depending on your perspective, this could be a blessing or a curse. I guess it’s all right. It’s a good conversation piece, if nothing else. Occasionally, I see people on Jerry Springer and Montel Williams talking about being adopted and how they feel like there is a piece of them missing. They want nothing more than to be united with their biological families. I don’t understand this. The two adults who raised me are my parents; the brother that I was raised with is my brother, and I don’t feel any unfilled hole in my heart from this missing part of my life. I actually feel pretty together and pretty damned lucky to have such a great family. I don’t feel that I’m missing anything . . . that is until I am half-lit in the middle of a party out in a field, listening to music, and I see two sisters dancing.