November 17th…“DID YOUR BIG SISTER EVER HAVE TO TEACH YOU A LESSON THE HARD WAY ON YOUR FARM IN SOUTHERN MINNESOTA?”
“Gatling Gun Gertha”…..yup, THAT would’ve been an excellent alias for our big sister, Rosemary Arlone Noorlun! That elder sister of ours could load her “cartridge magazine” (her long “arm of the law”) with packed snowballs just about as fast as a wink and then rapid fire them, like the old Gatling gun, with precise accuracy to take out a snow opponent. On this snowy day and in this certain case, the opponent was ME!!! Rosie’s power punch prowess was able to shoot my winter cap right off of my head and machine-gunned me into submission as she taught me a much needed lesson of life.
Now, don’t get me wrong. My big sister truly adored this little bundle from Heaven when I popped into the world in January of 1954. I’m told she fawned all over her tiny new baby brother and became like a little mother to me in so many ways. It must’ve been a big help to our beloved mother to have a little babysitter, so to speak, in our very willing sister, Rosemary. I’m told that when I finally came of school age and had to ride the bus to school in Kiester, Rosie made it plain and clear to all the older boys on that bus. “Watch out, you guys!! This is MY little brother and if I find out you’ve been bothering him, I’ll pulverize ya!!!” She was a triple treat in the sense that not only was she our mother’s right-hand babysitter, but she was also my guardian angel and the familial one who would mete out justice to anyone who caused me heartache on that school bus.
In the Old Testament of the Bible, Proverbs Chapter 3 and Verse 12 says, “For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights”. Years had passed and I was about 6 or 7 years old at the time of this incident. Since my father wasn’t around to witness and correct what transpired on that snowy day, sister Rosemary was destined to be the corrector of what she saw. On that fateful day, my little sister Candice and myself were just outside our kitchen window playing near our “snow mountain”. Our dear neighbor, Louie Heitzeg, had recently created that mountain of snow from when he cleared out our family’s yard with his tractor/loader after a big snowstorm.
It was a clear, but noisy Winter’s day as the wind whipped around our farm house and throttled past little sister and I as we played near our “snow mountain” together. You can call it the “pecking order of life”, or whatever you deem best, but I became the “mean widdo kid” as I saw my advantage over my little sister and began pummeling her with one snowball after another. Poor little darling, she started crying, of course. She was my “victim” and I was, sadly, enjoying my temporary power-trip over her. The noise of the wind whistling by, plus the crying of my little sister muffled the sound of my BIG sister sneaking up on me from behind. She had witnessed this act of injustice through the kitchen window and was about to become my judge, jury and executioner. Out she came in complete stealth and had loaded her “Gatling” gun (her long arm) with a massive amount of snowballs. In a complete surprise attack she unleashed her feminine fury at me. Not only did she shoot off my winter cap, but at least one (or more) of her “blazing snowball bullets” hit me point blank square in the face. I could feel both of my nostrils now PACKED with snow! Now it was ME who was crying!!! With little sister crying in the background, I could hear Rosemary’s condemning taunts to me as each “snow-bullet” found its mark on me as she bellowed…… “How do YOU like it NOW?” “NOW, how does it feel?” “SHAME on you for treating our little sister that way!!!”
There we were, a tearful twosome. Sweet little sister, Candi, crying because of my selfish, bullying behavior, and myself, crying because of having been the recipient of a disciplining justice that was carried out by our big sister who loved us both deeply enough to see that I, as her beloved little brother, was corrected to know what right choices I needed to make in the future to better show love to the little sister of this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.