Follow’n Sissy

story by Frank Hughes

I’m here ta tell ya folks … I didn’t have a junebugs chance at a toad frogs convention! Ya see … I follow’d Sissy in our little school. Of course at the time I start’d school, I didn’t know I was the little lamb bein led ta slaughter. I went ta school just like the other little children did. My blank little mind was just primed and ready ta be fill’d with the wonders of the world. But what they didn’t tell me was Sissy had done sopp’d up all the gravy in the schools bowl of knowledge! All I was gonna get was a cold biscut.

They put me in the 1st grade. We didn’t have none of that pre-school’n stuff. They throw’d us right into the lions den! Anyhow’s, if I’d known how smart my big sister was … I’d have stay’d home! One of the first things I learn’d in school was … how fine a student Sissy was! It was real easy ta remember, the teachers told me most every day!

Now I got to explain somethin. The teachers in my school were old! I know most of em had hir’d on at Glenpool shortly after the first world war! I do believe a couple of em was Civil War Veterans! I took a little trip to my granddaughters school … the same Glenpool School I went to a hundred years ago or so. Most of the teachers look’d like they just finish’d a photo shoot with Playboy! I know some of em ain’t old enough ta vote! My teachers prob’ly voted for Honest Abe!!! My 1st grade teacher was Mrs Doremus, an elderly sweet lady with a heart of gold.

One of the first things she told me was, Your sister Freda was one of the best students she had ever had the pleasure of teach’n!!! Right then and there I know’d … this little lady is expect’n me ta be just like Sissy! I went right out at recess and prov’d her wrong, I got into a fight! For the life of me I still ain’t figger’d out how a little girl, no bigger than my left leg could have got so many brain cells in her little head! Sissy not only aced the 1st grade … but all the other ones too!!!!!!! By the time I got to the 5th grade … Mrs Branchcomb, I call’d her the knuckle bust’r, told me I just wasn’t try’n hard enough. She said Freda was her best pupil. Heckfire, I already know’d that! That Einstein fella might have finished a close second to her! I bet you Sissy never … not one time, got her knuckles bust’d!

Now Mrs Branchcomb was a fine teacher … and even today I don’t hold no grudge agin her. I’m sure that every time she whack’d me across the knuckles with that there wood’n ruler … she was think’n she was mak’n me a little smarter. Heckfire, if I’d been around her another 3 or 4 years … I’d prob’ly been some kind of geanus!!!

Now when Sissy was going through high school … I was right behind her. She was mak’n straight A’s and was I was surviv’n on everything else. I did manage to get even with her once. I was still gett’n my knuckles bust’d by Mrs Branchcomb while in the 6th grade. Yeah, Mrs Branchcomb had both the 5th grade and 6th grade in one room. So you can see I got a double dose of her. You talk about cruel and unusual punishment!! She had a wart on her nose the size of a good siz’d peanut … I told her one day that I’d borrow my Daddys barlow knife and make quick work of it for her … she whack’d me on the knuckles!!

Anyway, somethin came up and I was supposed to go find Sissy and tell her somethin real important. I take off and run over to the high school. I found out which room she was in … I walk down the long hall and theres her classroom. I was scairt ta death! I knock on the door and Mrs Mudduck answers … she spits out, What do you want? I need to explain somethin here. Mrs Mudduck had a lisp … so when I say she spits it out, Well … that’s what she did. If you stood to close to her or sat on the front row in class … you not only got some learn’n but also a free shower!!!

But I never had ta worry much about them showers … I was always put on the back row, my friend Sam always calls it the dumb row. Now how did it get off on poor Mrs Mudduck? Anyhows, everyone in Fredas room is look’n at me … and I tell Mrs Mudduck that I need ta tell “Sissy” somethin! The whole class starts laugh’n and smil’n! I look at Freda and she’s try’n to crawl under her chair. Heckfire, I didn’t know I wasn’t suppos’d ta call Freda, Sissy…! That’s all I ever call’d her … Freda turn’d red faced and came out in the hall. I wouldn’t have blamed her if she’d slugg’d me right in the mouth … but she didn’t. I never understood till years later that I had embarrassed her so. Over the years I’ve prob’ly embarrassed her many times I’m sure.

Sissy made it through school just fine, even with me try’n ta make her life as miserable as a younger brother could. The teachers kept after me … try’n ta get me to live up to Sissys standards. I never did. Sissy graduated at the top of her class. Valedictorian …straight A’s all the way! I trail’d in behind her a few years later. But the more I think on it … I believe I did help the family in an unexpect’d way. My little brother Denny came along behind me … same school, same teachers. And after me … Well they prob’ly thought he was a gift from God!!! Sissy married a fine fellow and they had two beautiful daughters. Now she has many lovely grand children and is loved and respected by all who know her. I would gladly follow her anywhere. Well … maybe not through school agin!!! I don’t think my poor knuckles could stand the pain!! But after all is said and done … I still love my “Sissy!”

originally posted on Frank’s Facebook Notes October 20, 2011

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