Several things can jump out of adjustment when years stack up faster than limbs on a water maple tree.

I can say that because I know about years and I’ve got a water maple in my front yard.

And it helps when a column writer has an editor who can advise him that a particular column has already been written and published.

And there is a lot of sadness connected with this malfunction of memory.

This column rewrite has to be handled in a way forever respectful of a sister who, as of Tuesday, was ever-so-sadly close to the end of her long life.

A native of Owensboro but a long-time resident of Kingsport, Tennessee, Virginia is my two-year senior who has long-despised that fact because of my annual habit of calling her every Dec. 2 to remind her of our age difference.

Shoot, if you judge it by minutes, there’s a world of difference between being 90 and 88.

I spent last weekend with my ailing sister and those days together were precious beyond description. I’m not sure she ever knew I was beside her bed or heard the many times I told her of my love for her.

But she knew all of that long before the insistence of dying took over.

There was a long and beautiful relationship between Sis and myself. It was made that way by a cloud of poverty hanging over our early years and the fact that our childhood years were partly dominated by an older sister and an older brother.

That’s a malady prevalent in many families and can only be terminated by the passage of puberty and the presence of perseverance.

There was, however, a time in the early years of our lives when love could have been shattered by stupidity. If memory serves me correctly, I was about 5 years old and Sis was two years ahead of that. A tricycle was the dividing point and I was the rascal.

On that long-ago day, Virgie was riding the borrowed trike and refused to let me have my turn. That constituted a desperate measure that could only be decided by desperate means.

Traveling down Hamilton Avenue at a nice clip that was powered by a big grin and female dominance, I responded by shoving a stick I was carrying into the front wheel. That created an instant stoppage of motion — except for my sister flying over the handlebars and her right arm smashing into the front wheel of a parked car.

The result was a broken right arm and a lot of worry on my part. I was sorry but never admitted it as such. However, I did last weekend when I was hovered over her near-lifeless body and planting a kiss on her forehead.

“I was sorry then and I’m so very sorry now,” I said.

I think I detected a faint smile. I’m not sure but I hope that’s what I saw.

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