We took care of each other. I did her laundry and taught her how to fry bacon. And when our dog had puppies, I showed her how to hold them—there’s an art to handling newborn pups.

I was the second person to hold her. Daddy said to me, “Whatever you do, don’t drop her.”

She looked like a white bullfrog. She smelled like vanilla and grass clippings. I promised I’d take care of her forever.

That was harder than it sounded. This girl grew into a kid overnight, and she did reckless things.

She used to leap off round hay bales, flapping her arms, yelling, “CATCH ME!”

She liked to see how long she could hold her breath underwater. She climbed trees that were too high. She ate too much bacon.

Her first word was, “NO!” Her second word was “NONONO!” She used these words when I tried to force an oyster past her lips. She pitched a fit.

I’d never known anyone who didn’t like oysters. They were the food of our forefathers. Our ancestors consumed oysters when they learned the War Between the States was over. It was celebratory food. The food of holidays. And of summer.

She was four when Daddy died. The morning of his death, I sobbed alone on our back porch. She crawled onto my lap.

“Don’t cry,” she said.

I did anyway.

We took care of each other. I did her laundry and taught her how to fry bacon. And when our dog had puppies, I showed her how to hold them—there’s an art to handling newborn pups.

Once, I rented a library book on French braiding. She let me practice until her hair resembled overcooked spaghetti.

She tried out for the school play. I attended her audition. She was nervous, and the smug drama teacher told her she had no talent.

I’m a quiet man, but I wasn’t that day. I called the teacher a greasy Communist who didn’t love the Lord. I’m sorry about ever saying that now. I don’t know if she really was greasy.

Throughout her high-school years, she worked different jobs. Once, she worked in an ice cream shop. Each day, I’d clock out of my job and visit her.

When the store was slow, she gave me ice cream for free—with Heath Bar crumbles. I gained eight pounds during that time.

I saw her last night. It was a party. People wore nice clothes. She wore a dress straight from a magazine. Not many women compete with her.

She is long, strong, and big-eyed. She inherited my ancestor’s looks; I inherited their affection for oysters.

I watched her. She saw me across the room. We hugged. She gives good hugs. Always has.

She’s a woman. So help me, a woman. She has a husband, two daughters, a good job. I don’t know how she survived our broken childhood without getting hurt. God knows, it wasn’t easy.

I am an unimpressive man. At times, I am an idiot. I haven’t done anything of note in my life. But seeing her in cocktail attire, I was almost feeling like I had.

It was something I don’t often feel. It’s the same feeling I’ll bet Daddy felt when he handed her to me.

Some might call it pride. Maybe that’s what it is. Whatever you call it, it feels so good it throbs in my throat and makes my smile muscles hurt.

You’d be proud of me, Daddy.

I didn’t drop her.

44 comments

  1. Debbie Phillips Hughett - May 17, 2019 6:45 am

    I love how you love your sister.

    Reply
    • DIanne - June 17, 2019 2:17 pm

      Another “best one yet”!

      Reply
  2. Charaleen Wright - May 17, 2019 6:58 am

    Reply
  3. Cathi Russell - May 17, 2019 10:02 am

    You did good, Sean. Thanks for being the kind of man that loves his women. I so appreciate that!

    Reply
  4. Elizabeth - May 17, 2019 10:18 am

    Wow, it’s awesome! Love, love, love it.

    Reply
  5. Jean - May 17, 2019 10:48 am

    Your sister and I share the hate of oysters. She is lucky to have a brother like you and you in turn are lucky to have your sister. You are a good man Sean…and oh yeah…I love you!

    Reply
  6. Rhonda Porter - May 17, 2019 11:10 am

    All the tears! You indeed did not drop her….you carried her. What a blessing the love of a brother is to a sister.

    Reply
  7. Sue - May 17, 2019 11:20 am

    What a great big brother you are. Your Daddy left knowing you would take good care of her. And be so proud of her and all of her accomplishments. It’s because of your love for her. God bless you for sharing your love each day.

    Reply
  8. Nancy Brown - May 17, 2019 11:21 am

    Loved it. Sweet inspiration. I wish you were my brother

    Reply
  9. Helen - May 17, 2019 12:33 pm

    Sweet! ❤️😘

    Reply
  10. Belinda Sanders - May 17, 2019 12:53 pm

    Loved this. Brought tears to my eyes. Wish my brother loved me like you love her.

    Reply
  11. Lori Brown - May 17, 2019 1:00 pm

    Darn it, Sean, you made me cry. Again. But I thank you for it.

    Reply
  12. Scarlet - May 17, 2019 1:15 pm

    Your words have moved me from the first time I read them. But now, after seeing you in person, I hear you speaking them. Thank you for sharing your life.

    Reply
  13. Shelton A. - May 17, 2019 1:22 pm

    Besides helping to raise her, you gave her a lot of love. And you have accomplished more than seeing your sister turn out right. You love us enough to write each day and to show us how much good there is in the world (even when it’s hard for us to see, you see it).

    Reply
  14. Sue Cronkite - May 17, 2019 1:29 pm

    I was 6 when my baby brother was born. You did a better job of raising her than I did him. A fine way of telling abwonderful story.

    Reply
  15. Bill - May 17, 2019 2:17 pm

    Sean, Enjoyed your show last night in Florence, AL and the opportunity to meet you and even get a photo with you. I watched the audience react to the familiar things in life we all share in common–church life, family life, Southern life. You made us all feel good. Thank you.

    Reply
  16. Jan - May 17, 2019 2:26 pm

    Your sister must surely have shed sweet tears when she read this. How blessed you both are to have each other.

    Reply
  17. Carol - May 17, 2019 2:59 pm

    😢🙏😍🌹Your everything to everyone! Be good to you too! You deserve it! Your one hell of a man!!
    Love ya!

    Reply
  18. Jack Darnell - May 17, 2019 3:34 pm

    Great tribute. Sisters are worth it all. I just lost my last one this year, she was 82. She taught me to ride a bike, hop scotch and jump rope. She also sneaked me cookies in bed. I know you are proud of your sister, it comes across in all your writing.
    BUT, you should keep trying, you just might do something in life, but at least you didn’t drop your sister. YOu did good there! (wink)
    Take care my friend, you have the ability to make people laugh and/or cry. Nice to know someone who LOVES!
    Sherry & jack from NC

    Reply
  19. Connie Havard Ryland - May 17, 2019 3:36 pm

    Buckets of tears. What a precious and special bond. Thank you for sharing your love for the women in your life. You’re a prince. Love and hugs.

    Reply
  20. John Hay - May 17, 2019 4:44 pm

    I’m not crying – you’re crying. Gorgeous writing from the heart.

    Reply
  21. Kristy Zinna - May 17, 2019 5:02 pm

    Beautiful tribute.

    Reply
  22. Edna B. - May 17, 2019 5:19 pm

    Your sister must be really proud of her big brother. My brother and I used to hold each other up when we needed it. I miss him. Thank you for this beautiful story. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  23. Judy Riley - May 17, 2019 5:33 pm

    Yes, you did a great job! You can have pride in your accomplishment with your little sister. God is good!!

    Reply
  24. Susie Munz - May 17, 2019 5:59 pm

    You were wrong on one point, Sean. You have done a lot in your life to make us all think, and for that (and your talents) you are very impressive!

    Reply
  25. Bobby Reeder - May 17, 2019 6:22 pm

    Love this!

    Reply
  26. Felina - May 17, 2019 6:56 pm

    I love all your stories but this was one really spoke to me – beautiful! Wow!

    Reply
  27. Barbara - May 17, 2019 9:02 pm

    Beautiful story, as always it made me smile and cry at the same time, you have a wonderful talent for expressing your thoughts and feelings. That is more than a great talent it is a gift from God, and you have your own unique way of putting things into words that touch us all. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  28. MermaidGrammy - May 17, 2019 9:09 pm

    You’re a good daddy, Sean. I bet you’re also the Number One Uncle, too. Please get some children of your own to parent. You have enough love and parenting skills for at least ten children. But, you’d better put a wiggle in it. You’re not getter younger by the day. A.D.O.P.T!!!

    Reply
  29. Joe Patterson - May 18, 2019 12:51 am

    Super story my mom and Dad were divorced my brother and I looked after our little sister she missed my Dad we all did but she missed him the most.When Dad got sick my brother and I got them together so they could make peace before he died.He did a lot of apologizing before he died but we were all able to make peace with him and forgive him before he died.I am sorry you did not get that opportunity.

    Reply
  30. Linda Moon - May 18, 2019 1:00 am

    I was lucky to have a big brother who “didn’t drop me” when I was born 7 years after he was. I was a year younger than your sister when our daddy left our home, but he was still a very interesting and challenging part of our lives. He brought me bacon when I awoke from a coma at age 5 because I was very hungry after being ill and “somewhere else”.

    Broken childhoods often heal, especially when there are big brothers for little sisters. My daddy, like yours, would be proud. And there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him and the unconditional love between him and me that lasted ’til the day he died and somehow lives on through the eternal ages.

    Reply
  31. theholtgirls - May 18, 2019 4:05 am

    Sean, I was doing just fine reading along… until your last sentence reached out and grabbed my heart and gave it a squeeze hard enough that tears are now running down my cheeks! Thank you for loving your little sister enough that she now knows how to hug her big brother “in cocktail attire.”

    Reply
  32. Robert Chiles - May 18, 2019 1:52 pm

    Like Rhonda said, “You didn’t drop her… you carried her.”

    Reply
  33. Barbara Coan - May 19, 2019 5:39 pm

    I had no brother or sister and have always felt a terrible sadness becauseI wanted them so badly. Your writing today was so beautiful.

    Reply
  34. Cindy - May 19, 2019 6:44 pm

    One of your best, Sean!

    Reply
  35. Joan Mitchell - May 22, 2019 5:20 pm

    About to cry over the beauty of your writing, and the beautiful bond between you and your sister.

    Reply
  36. Martha Martin Black - June 17, 2019 6:25 am

    “Haven’t done anything of note”? Not so…….. You have gladdened my heart & brought back a littke laughter i had thought was gone forever……..

    “Whatever you call it, it feels so good it throbs in my throat and makes my smile muscles hurt.” Oh yes, my smile muscles are,excercising right now. Haven’t used them much in the 14 years since I became a widow.

    Your daddy would indeed be proud of you and I am most appreciative for you.

    “I didn’t drop her” &………. you’ve lifted me as well as others in the meanwhile, I’m sure.

    Reply
  37. Ronda - June 17, 2019 10:17 am

    Sometimes the little blessings decide when to be known. ❤

    Reply
  38. Candice - June 17, 2019 5:02 pm

    She was fortunate to have such a caring brother.

    Reply
  39. Mary Ann Massey - June 17, 2019 6:01 pm

    I’ve read lots and lots of your stories….even saw you in person 😘….. but THIS STORY is my favorite! There is nothing like sibling love….. I can pick at my siblings all day long…..BUT I won’t stand for it out of other people…..

    Reply
  40. Joe Patterson - June 17, 2019 11:31 pm

    Brothers take care of their sisters especially after their fathers are gone

    Reply
  41. Steve W. - June 18, 2019 5:21 am

    Love you Sean. You make my days better. Please keep it up.

    Reply
  42. Nell Thomas - June 18, 2019 10:38 am

    Thanks. Loved the story.

    Reply
  43. Donna - June 18, 2019 12:27 pm

    She survived and thrived because of the love of a dear brother. I’m ten years older than my dear brother. He is my touch stone. Here in my 60’s he is still my constant. An amazing human. Just like you brother Sean I feel your kinship. Go ahead on… Go ahead on..

    Reply

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