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Barbara’s got all the blankets

It’s Thanksgiving time again, and like many of you, my mind goes back to the kinder, gentler times of my childhood.

Our family usually traveled to Oklahoma City to spend the holiday weekend with Grandma and Granddaddy Bollinger. They had a small three bedroom house, so my sister and I shared Grandma’s double bed while she sacrificed and slept in Granddaddy’s bedroom with him.

Well, despite the quieter days of the early 60’s, when Barbara and I had to share a bed…WW3 was soon to follow.

That first night we arrived, the night before Thanksgiving, Mom tucked Barbara and me into bed and then joined the other grown ups as they sat and talked and finished up all of the Thanksgiving preparations.

Let me tell you. Barbara is four and a half years older than me, and I was extremely suspicious of her privileged position as the oldest girl in the family. She was vicious in my opinion, as she was known at times to pin me down and tickle me until I nearly wet my pants…OK…I did wet my pants. She was a true foe of the highest order.

On the other hand, she was equally leery of me. I was the baby of the family, and she knew I was the privileged one. To her way of thinking, I got away with murder as I screamed “MOMMMMMY!!!” every time she even looked at me.

Yes, war was brewing as soon as Mom turned out the light…

“Give me the cover!” I cried as I grabbed hold of a wad of blanket.

“Let go! It’s MINE!” she demanded as she pulled the cover back.

Soon we were kicking, yanking, screaming like little wildcats, pulling blankets in every direction. Flashes of static electricity snapped like enemy fire in the darkened Oklahoma bedroom…

The noise of our warfare soon reached the kitchen where Mom and Grandma were taking the last pie out of the oven.

And then we heard it…the unmistakable sound of Mom’s feet, walking across the living room, into the hall, her hand upon the doorknob…

“GIRLS!” she whisper-yelled. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING???!!”

I felt vindicated. I, the victim, the baby, and the innocent recipient of the oppression of that older person of privilege–my enemy and my sister, who lay over there in this very bed–I would revel in the justice only Mom and Dad could meet upon her.

I yelped out in my very best “poor-me-I’m-the-victim” voice, “BARBARA’S GOT ALL THE BLANKETS!!!!!!!”

As Mom cracked the door open and switched on the light…there, before God and all the turkeys of a million Thanksgiving dinners, lay the truth….

Barbara, entirely exposed to the cold in her little cotton flannel pajamas, lay shivering….and I, yes I, the victim of her privilege, had the entire pile of blankets heaped up on me and spilling over my side of the bed to the floor.

I may or may not have gotten spanked…but as I crawled back under the re-spread blankets, a new thought began forming in my little girl brain that late Thanksgiving eve: Maybe I’m not ALWAYS the victim here. And MAYBE…just MAYBE…my supposed people of privilege don’t ALWAYS have the advantage…

And if you ever watch the news with me nowadays, you may hear me whisper this little saying under my breath as I watch the conflict of our time: “Barbara’s got all the blankets.”

Happy Thanksgiving,