I learned to read and write at three
Because my sister tutored me
She learned to ride a bike and swim
And asked the world, How ’bout him?
She blazed the trail we both would tread
Taught vectors from her top-bunk bed
And showed me how adulthood works
I’m pleased in me my sister lurks
Ich habe eine Schwester
Aber, ach, kein Bruder.
I could tell you what that means,
But not to would be ruder.
I’m the youngest in my clan
Except for those I’m older than,
Like both my baby sisters, plus
Dmitri, Stanley, Juan and Russ.
And don’t forget Pascal and Roy
And Scooter…I’m the youngest boy,
I should have said. The girls all know
That I’m their little brother–though
I’m technically their senior, sure,
That’s just for primogeniture–
Right, Wanda, Bryn, Elise and Kim?
See? I’m the youngest, but for them.
A sibling’s like a built-in friend
(Albeit one who won’t go home)
As quick to torment as defend
A confidant with whom to roam
A teacher, mentor, guide and tutor
Interlocutor and scold
The us-against-the-world rooter
By whom on you mom was told
That button-pusher sans égal
(Who’ll slug if you dare to doubt ’em),
Loyal, most annoyal gal
Or guy…What would you do without ’em?
A – An Anniversary!
B – Boy, this is hard.
C – Can I start over, please?
D – That’s for Discard.
E – Excitement Everywhere!
F – Fine Family Fun!
G – Good Golly, Galbreaith clan
H – Have a Happy one!
I – If you’re Italian, It’s
J – Joyeux anniv— No,
K – Kidding! That’s français, n’est-ce pas?
L – Learning as we go…
M – Marriage is a lot like that:
N – Never Nothing New.
O – Only One in three survive
P – Past ten years. It’s true!
Q – Quite Quixotic, then, to try
R – Racing up the aisle
S – Since Statistics Say you Seek
T – Trouble, Tears, and Trial.
U – Upsetting? Sure, but some
V – Vanquish o’er the odds
W – With Wedded bliss:
X – Xanadu, b’gods!
Y – Yes! You two have made it!
My sister and her beau
Are silver-plated celebrants!
(Is there a Z word? No.*)
*While I admit that “Zounds” would fit,
Will I deploy it? Nyet,
‘Cause Z is letter 26;
They haven’t earned it yet!
I love to read; my sister taught me how
I love to swim; she made me join her class
When I was called a thief she had a cow
Marched into band and kicked the teacher’s ass
When we both broke the rules she took the blame
When I was pushed around she took my part
She made our parents treat us both the same
Despite the fact she’d had two years’ head start
Don’t get me wrong: There are, admittedly,
Some less-than-perfect moments to report
We had our bouts of sibling rivalry
And button-pushing was a contact sport
But when it mattered she was always there
(Too bad I couldn’t make her share her hair)
(Continued from Part XVI)
“I’ve heard of those games,” Fletcher said. “Those Olympics
Were where that guy Michael Phelps beat did his swim tricks
With something like seven gold medals, or so.
Michael Spitz was his name, I think, wasn’t it? No,
I’d remember that. That’s Papa’s name, after all.
Was it Max? Or Mitch? Moustache! That’s right, I recall
That he had this great bushy black ’stash on his lip,
’Cause I asked my dad, wasn’t he worried the grip
Of the hair on the water would make him swim slow,
And Papa said, maybe, but not so’s you’d know.”
“That’s the fellow,” the turtle said. “Mark was his name
And that moustache–plus seven gold medals–brought fame
To a sport that, until that time, sadly, was lacking
In superstar status or corporate backing.
A world-class swimmer (or runner) got healthy
And possibly famous; he never got wealthy.
Things still didn’t change overnight, but when Shorter
Won gold in the marathon, soon, in short order,
Hundreds of thousands of folks hit the pools
And the streets to start swimming and running, and rules
That a few years before had seemed carved into stone
Started crumbling. Sports get more support if your own
Chosen athletic outlet is one that’s suppressed,
Even if there’s no chance that you’ll ever be best.
As war and then Watergate seemed to spell doom
For the country, along came the First Fitness Boom.
(To be continued….)