Inheritance

Sisters can come in handy.  Real handy. Two sisters can get the work done twice as fast, twice the amount of results, especially if the two sisters have received the same inheritance.

My sister Amanda grew up with our grandmother Addie Mae's and grandmother Lilliian's work ethic.  We both did, as their ever-present shadows stood long in front of the sun, while pointing their fingers in the direction of fields or hills, handing us burlap bags or buckets, depending if the day's bounty was corn or berries.

It's not a great accomplishment, to have soaked up their tenacity for getting things done. We really didn't have a choice. The grandmothers worked work into our pores, our palms, our prayers, Yes, a grandmother's bed time prayer could have been on the topic of the next day's bean picking, or corn shucking, or wood chopping. Or, maybe it was on to our great aunt's garden to gather her corn, to shuck and silk her corn.  Children of the corn, indeed.

Amanda and I detested it at times, the itchy feeling of corn leaves lightly scratching our faces as we sidled through the rows of Addie Mae's Silver Queen. And Lillian's berry picking could be a day long affair, where we bent low, and our stained hands parted thorny vines and war painted our itching faces and arms with deep purple. While homemade lye tallow soap removed the stains, sweat, and red dirt grime, the tiny thorns and bug bites irritated us for weeks afterwards. But the dew berry jammed biscuits on school mornings made it better,  it did.  And the canned blackberries carried us into the winter with deep dish cobblers and latticed pies.

The work taught a great lesson: how to can and freeze corn for winter meals and berries for winter pies. But better yet, to ignore little stings or cuts as they frequently embed for weeks; to embrace the wonderful dirt, grime, and sweat of physical labor; to be the awesome power of two sisters getting twice the work done between dawn and dusk.