As usual, big sister saves the day

Courtesy Heather Burns

Sisters are special, especially when you need a dry place to sleep after a rainy RAGBRAI night.

This is the fourth of a series of blogs by espnW deputy editor and native Iowan Heather Burns, who is doing the Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.

Once again, my big sister saved the day.

I am riding RAGBRAI with my sister Bridget for the third time. It's her birthday today, and at the risk of giving away her age, I am 44 and she is a year and half older.

Back to Monday. We went to dinner in downtown Perry, the site of an overnight stop. While we were gone there was a huge thunderstorm. We left the windows open in our tent, but even if they were closed, we are pretty sure the water would have made its way in.

Most of our stuff got soaked, including my bedding. But Bridget had an air mattress, which was relatively dry (we covered it with rain ponchos). Bridget offered to let me and our friend Rebe (who, by the way, was the first one into Des Moines on Tuesday after cutting Monday short with a bad knee) sleep on it with her, out of the puddles on the tent floor.

It wasn't the first time Bridget has helped out her little sister.

She let me tag along with her and her best friend, Andi, almost everywhere they went. She let me borrow her clothes. She taught me how to do my hair and put on makeup. She let me visit her at college and again when she moved to Chicago. And now that we are older and she has a family, she lets me take care of her kids.

In high school I gave her a little pillow that said, "Sisters are special." And it is really true. Through the years whenever I have something going on, I know I can check in with my big sis. She will give me advice or just listen. And she knows that I am always there if she needs me.

When we talked about doing RAGBRAI again (we went together in 1987 and '97), I was excited to spend a week with Bridget. We so rarely see each other when there aren't many other family members around.

I talked to her about why she decided to go back out on the ride. As a wife, nurse and mother of two, she said she just wanted to do something for herself. She is more than deserving.

But again, on Monday, she was taking care of me.

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