Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

 

CP: My sisters — one older, one younger — are the best argument I can think of against only-child-ism.

RN: Nothing against my baby brother, who is one of the finest people I know, but where would I be without my two older sisters? Um, nowhere.

 

CP: I have expressly insisted that neither Jessie nor Emily are even to consider predeceasing me.

 

RN: They don’t know it yet, but Cheri and Linda and I are going to have to agree to some kind of Thelma-and-Louise situation where we all leave God’s Green Earth simultaneously.

 

CP: Not sure how I would have survived our mother’s death without my siblings, including my older brother. We were Joan’s Mutual Support Society, and we paid our dues with laughter, phone talks, old stories that no one else could appreciate, plus years of visits to the Motherland. Emily was large and in charge, as health care power of attorney. If ever something had an elevated title but was really just tons of grunt work, that was the job. And she did it like a pro.

 

RN: My siblings were similarly amazing when it concerned our mother’s final years. I couldn’t ask for better examples when it comes to compassion and devotion. But before we get too teary, let’s run down the fun times, shall we?

 

CP: When artistic, sensitive Jessie, née Harriet, went off to college a year ahead of me, I couldn’t wait to high-tail it west to visit her in Boulder and soak up the wayward glories of the Undergraduate Way of Life.

 

RN: And that’s how you spell t-r-o-u-b-l-e. Linda — she was a Bravette, and those dance-line girls ruled our high school — taught me how to do the Hustle, on the orange shag carpet in the basement of our 1970s split-level. To a Boz Scaggs song. This is why every gay boy needs a big sister, right?

 

CP: Of this one wishes ardently that there was video.

 

RN: Thankfully, no. Because our father had the patience of a burning match, Cheri took pity on her kid brother, handed me the keys to her banana yellow Camaro and taught me how to drive, in the empty parking lot at Valley Ridge shopping center.

 

CP: Sibling love has been more of a grown-up thing for me. When we were all younger, I was able to sharpen my verbal teasing skills by practicing relentlessly on both sisters. As they practiced the clarinet and did their best to ignore me.

 

RN: To which you responded, in your best Glenn Close voice, “I’m not going to be ignored, Dan.” Sorry, a little “Fatal Attraction” detour.

 

CP: Then, in the late ’80s and early ’90s, bundles of joy began arriving at Ridge Road in Green Bay. Emily was a mom times three. No uncle ever was happier.

 

RN: Except for this one. Who would have guessed, back when Gerald Ford was in the White House and we considered a night at Mr. Steak to be a big deal, that my sisters would turn out to be such remarkable mothers? Of course, they had a great role model.

 

CP: To quote the immortal Smokey Robinson, I second that emotion.

 

E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib