The Lyin’, the Witch and the Wardrobe

It is easier to advise than be advised.” – Anonymous “…not necessarily.” – Ann Marie Richards

Nearly every morning while growing up, my sister would ask my mother what she should wear. Patti, ever slim, stylish and concerned with her appearance, seemed ever-eager to hear Mom’s opinion.

Several summers when I was a kid, my dad would moonlight as a cable splicer to make extra money for the family. Most weekends he would drive 310 miles to Circle, a small town in the flatlands of Montana, where he joined my uncle in maintaining the area’s telecommunications network. That sounds much more glamorous that it actually was. He’d put in 12-hour days, in the hot sun or pouring rain with the spiders, snakes, mosquitoes, coyotes and other critters one encounters in rural Montana, while dining only on cold cheese sandwiches and warm soda. After his weekend was complete, he would drive back to his full-time job with our local phone company.

My Uncle Robert and Dad were both highly skilled splicers and made a nice weekend wage. Most of that moonlighting money found it’s way into my sister’s closet via Myree’s and Ellison’s, two of the most prestigious clothing boutiques in North Dakota.

My mother, in her naivete` and deep desire to be needed, would without fail follow my sister downstairs to her room to offer assistance in the selection of an outfit for the day. Equally without fail, my sister would discount and reject every recommendation Mother would make. I always wondered why in the world she would, day after day, put herself in the position to be disrespected and her thoughts tossed aside with no regard for her feelings.