You were four and six years older than me, respectively; but in some respects I never really knew either of you when I was a child.
Chloe; you were the horse obsessed big sister who was sent off to boarding school when I was still five years’ old and Jerry; you were the older brother, wanting to prove you were the farmer of the family.
In hindsight that was not too difficult! Steve’s interest certainly ran more to the musical and whilst I loved the land, my love was far more intrinsic than practical.
My failings in this regard were a point of frustration to you and the resulting rages left me wanting to steer clear of you.
The disdain for my lack of expertise on the horse was palpable, although I do remember times when Chloe would patiently put me atop Bonnie and try to teach me the proper way to hold the reins and rise to the trot. Your lessons paid off to the extent, that even recently; I was complimented on my ability on the horse when a few of us went riding one weekend. My efforts would not have earned me any brownie points from either of you but up against novices I managed to look pretty good.
Chloe; you and Steven had a bond when I was little, and whilst I was not excluded from your little club; an interloper six or eight years younger was not unreasonably excluded from big kid’s games.
Jerry; I don’t know why we never bonded, I can never remember a time when we were close. I was the mummy’s boy when we were small and you were very definitely, much more at home, outside with Dad.
I admired your skill with cattle, your fearlessness on the horse, your ability to converse with grown up visitors, your prowess on the sports ground and your dogged determination which made up for any lack of skill in any of the above.
Probably, I have never told you how much I did admire you as a kid. I was shy and to an extent scared of being left with you. I knew the calm times could be broken so easily and you would erupt into one of your infamous rages.
I am sorry for the distance between us as kids. To some extent it was my own fault; it was easier for me to retreat into the imaginary world of Bill than take the chance of being rebuffed by an older sister or brother.
There was in later years. a wonderful rapprochement with Chloe especially when you and the big G would offer me sanctuary when things got too tough at home. Those times at “Gunyah” were special to me, sharing the birth and childhood of your two daughters, with you and your big bear of a husband.
Jerry; we did try to get closer over the years but these efforts generally petered out and I do regret this.
Times have been tough for both of you, the wounds of childhood have proven to be insurmountable, I desperately wish I could repair the past for all of us, but at least with Chloe now, we do get to laugh at and, with; each other on those wonderful, rare times when we do get together.