The Bossy One Turns Fifty

Sister Silver

She once forced me to don a black wig and dress up as a Kardashian sister. With leopard leggings. I was Khloe, if you must know.

She presented me with a purple swim cap and made me join in a synchronized swimming routine at a swank Arizona resort.

She dragged me off clothes shopping when I was Slouching Towards Dowdiness.

She is the bossy one.


She is also the light of our family, the one with the zest for life and the contagious laugh. And she is turning fifty today.

She can do the best Axl Rose impression you’ve ever seen and serve as President of her local PEO chapter.

She can recite the lines to “Bridesmaids” verbatim and organize hugely successful high school band fundraisers.

She is that girl that everybody loves, the real-life version of those lyrics on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”:  “who can turn the world on with her smile…..”


I thought it would be nice to write a post in honor of my baby sister’s fiftieth birthday, but it is proving to be a little harder than I ever imagined. How do I capture the essence of a person like Mary in a few paragraphs? Not very well if the constant fits and starts in writing this are any indicator.

Aaahh my 20 oz beer has arrived

We’re sisters but we’re not two peas in a pod. Mary’s thing? To have a BLAST: she loves to golf and ski and cavort in the swimming pool. I’d rather be reading. Quietly. She wants to go to the cowboy bar in Arizona and dance and raise a little Cain. I’d rather be reading. Quietly. She likes to dress up in costumes and play pranks on people.  You know what I’d rather be doing.  So you see I really need her to boss me into having some fun.


Everybody loves Mary. That’s the common denominator in any gathering – it doesn’t matter how diverse the group is – they all love Mary. And why? To me, the one who tends to analyze a bit much, I think it’s because she is the real deal, a genuinely nice person. When Mary meets somebody, her default is to like that person and to look for the good in them. People sense that they have just entered a no-judgment zone and they open up to her.

Yes, she’s uproariously funny, a brilliant mimic, and a genuinely nice person.  But she’s so much more than that. She is a ferocious mother lion and a loyal and loving wife. She is a trusted friend and an excellent dog-mommy.  And did I mention that she can do some pretty impressive stuff in the kitchen? Goat cheese and shrimp-stuffed poblanos, anyone? Oh my.

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Mary’s signature dish. The Bossy One is also Best Cook!

I’ll tell you something else that she bossed me into years ago. Yup, Mary pushed and prodded until I finally got a dog. (Come to think of it, middle sister, Sue, had a lot to do with that one as well.)

Mother's Day 2010 072

Mission Accomplished x 2!

I hope you all have a “Mary” in your life: that person who adds a little life to things; that person you know is there for you and will tell you the truth. And especially that person who bosses you around a little…. for your own good, of course.


Bossy or not, she is famous in our family for sending the best greeting cards.

And so, dear one, no matter how old you are, you will always be my baby sister. I couldn’t ask for a better one. You brighten up our entire family with your inner joy and your sparkle. I hope your big day is a total BLAST.  531531_10200911888945692_369810538_n-1

And you’re welcome for not posting the picture of you as Kim Kardashian. XXX

About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. And the odd thought or two.
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21 Responses to The Bossy One Turns Fifty

  1. Dianna says:

    You are SO fortunate to have Mary for your sister; her love of life shines through in every photo. I’m fortunate to have a couple of “Marys” in my life too.
    When you wrote that when Mary meets someone, her “default” is to like them, I realized you were describing the two Marys in my life.
    Happy Birthday to your Mary!


  2. Lovely post.
    No chance of seeing the Kardashian photos, then?


  3. Jeanie says:

    Happy Birthday to Mary! What a great tribute to her, Barb. I have a strong feeling that she feels much the same about you and you fine qualities. Your parents did a great job!


  4. Pat says:

    At last the lovely face to put with all of the lovely things you have told me about Mary. Please wish her a Happy Birthday for me. How lucky you are to have each other!


  5. dorothy says:

    Happy 50th to a special person. I’ve heard so many stories about the sisterhood and we all feel that we’re a part of your family. Enjoy every moment of this big day and count your blessings that your sister ms. Barbara is not nearby to do damage. Wishing you the best………


  6. srudin123 says:

    I am laughing and crying at the same time – could not have done it better. Happy Birthday dear sweet little sister. You are loved because you love us back so beautifully.


  7. Sue Mayo says:

    Taking note of all you have said about Mary, she sound like my kind of gal. I bet she and I could have a ball bossing you around. Wish Mary a Happy 50th Birthday for me.


  8. Diane Ahlberg says:

    A very Happy Birthday to Mary!! Hope your special day is filled with all the things you like to do surrounded by those you love!!


  9. Mary says:

    Wow! I am sitting here with joy in my heart and a big lump in my throat and quiver in my chin…this is the best present ever and I am privileged to have all these special people in my life!
    Barb, you are my rock and even though we are different we are the same in so many ways. You have given me more than I can ever say in words. The gift of friendship, sisterly love and guidance and our “joy” Joshua Scott! A bond that will never break. I look forward to an amazing day on this beautiful earth being a 50 year old boot scootin’, family lovin’, goof ball! I can’t wait for our next visit together! Cheers to life, love and the pursuit of wonderful people to share life with!


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  13. joannesisco says:

    What a truly awesome tribute to a beautiful woman! How lucky you are to have such a wonderful person in your life!


  14. rixlibris says:

    ‘Better Ideas’? It took me years to break those in my immediate circle (especially BW – Beautiful Wife) from using that term. They now say “I have a different idea” even though they still think ‘better’.


  15. M-R says:

    I did have once, Barbara – my second-eldest sister, Josephine. But she died, not all that long after Chic died. I miss her more than I can say.


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