It isn’t unusual to find Rachel and Sharon Holt thirty feet off the ground. They love to climb the tall western hemlock in the side yard and haul up picnic supplies with a rope. Sometimes they even perch up there on rainy days under a dry roof of evergreen needles.
If you’re looking for the sisters at their grandmother’s house, you’ll probably find Sharon, 9, hanging by her knees in the cypress tree and Rachel swinging on a long rope from the huge madrona tree.
Rachel and Sharon are growing up in the woodsy Pacific Northwest. Maybe that’s why they like trees so much. Or maybe it’s because of their family name—“Holt” means “the woods.”
They live in the city of Renton at the south end of Lake Washington. Rachel (11) likes to go biking along Cedar River to the lake. One of her favorite places is the Renton Library, which is built like a bridge over the river. She loves to read.
Rachel likes music. She plays the piano, the recorder, and the trombone, and is starting to learn the trumpet and the flute. When she was in third grade, she wrote a piano piece called “Hand-Me-Down” and entered it in a school fine arts fair. It won first place for the primary grades in the school district.
Playing the trombone came very easy for her, and when she was only in fifth grade (her first year with the trombone), she was asked to play with a middle school band. She has such a good “buzz” in her lips that she can even play a garden hose!
Besides hanging upside down from the tree branches, Sharon likes shinning up flagpoles, jumping rope, walking, and dancing on stilts.
Sharon won first prize in a school fine arts fair too. The theme of the fair was “Proud Experiences,” so she drew a picture of one of her proudest experiences: learning how to swing from one dangling rope to another.
A challenge even harder for Sharon than swinging from rope to rope came the day of the Primary Sacrament Meeting Presentation. She gathered up her courage, walked up to the stand, and gave the opening prayer. For someone shy like Sharon, that’s scarier than sitting on top of a flagpole.
Not long ago Rachel and Sharon took their dog to church. Well, not really to church, but into the church building. “Alfie the Trained Dog” acted with them in the ward talent show. The girls played outlaws, their dad was the sheriff, and Alfie played the deputy who helped catch them and drag them away. The audience loved it!
Rachel enjoys Merrie Miss activities like the Daddy-Daughter Date, when she and her dad dressed up as pirates, each with a ring in one ear and a toy parrot on one shoulder. Sharon has put her class teachings to work, trying hard to be valiant and live the golden rule. Both girls have memorized all thirteen Articles of Faith. Maybe the Holt family theme song should be “In the Leafy Treetops,” but Sharon would rather sing “Search, Ponder, and Pray” the way she learned it in Primary, with her hands dancing in sign language along with her voice.
In the words of Rachel the poet, “On the ground or up in a tree, Rachel and Sharon are as happy as can be.”