#TBT: My Boys

I was eight years old when I got brothers.  They were older than me, not babies, so I was leery at first.  A baby brother would have been a dream because I could tote him around in my dolly stroller and dress him up in my dolly clothes with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of bossiness.  (Martie never let me boss her around even though I was a full 20 months older than her.)  Instead I got these wild things who ran non-stop into and out of the woods, who double-dog dared me to launch myself into the creek from a rope swing, and who sometimes pushed me out of hammocks onto some very pointy rocks.  I was crazy about them.

Barracuda!

All the girls that we went to school with were crazy about them, too.  Martie and I got phone calls all the time from these much older girls who’d ask, “Vawn nere?”

Martie would look at me, her forehead wrinkled into a question mark, and hold out the phone to me mouthing, “I don’t know what she’s saying?”

“Hello?” I’d say, and then I’d hear, “Yah, Vawn nere?”  I’d look back at Martie, my forehead wrinkled into a question mark, and shrug.  It took us a little bit to realize that Popular Girl Tammi wasn’t really calling to talk to Martie or me, despite her asking for us, but was calling to determine if Vaughan (Brother Bear) was home.  Oh.  Vawn nere? = is Vaughan there?

“He’s fahr,” another girl said admiringly of Brother Boo.  By this point I’d caught on to the lingo.

“Yes, fire would be a good descriptor for him,” I’d say, knowing that my version of fire and her version of fire were two different fires.

Hotties

After the boys learned to drive, and it was early as they had been clamoring for that privilege since they were able to sit upright, they’d worry the mess out of Madre and Poppa to go somewhere.

“I’ll run over and get some milk from the dairy farm,” they’d promise and then roar off in the old Cadillac, always returning with the car but sometimes not with the milk.

“I’ll just go get the dog food, no problem, can I have the keys?” they’d ask, right before they disappeared down the country dirt road, not to return again for two hours.

“I’ll mow the grass,” Brother Boo yelped, and he’d drive lines up and down the yard all afternoon.

That grass mowing business left me raging with jealousy.  I had been begging to mow grass since I was too short to even reach the push mower handles.  My cousin, Reid, was tasked with that chore before we got brothers and then afterwards, the boys took care of it, so Martie and I were never allowed the privilege.

“Show me how to do that,” I remember asking Brother Boo.  “Please, I want to do that.”

Y’all, for three whole minutes he patiently taught me.

“Let the clutch out slowly, you want it to be smooth,” he said as I positioned myself on the seat.

I tried slow and smooth just like he said but at nine, slow and smooth were not yet in my vocabulary.  I wobbled all over my one line, mad at him because I couldn’t get it right.

“Are you sure slow, because this isn’t working,” I snarked.

That soured Brother Boo on the game and he said, “No, actually, it’s easier if you just pop the clutch.  I was messing with you before.”

So I, ever trusting, popped the clutch and nearly flew backwards off that lawn mower.  Brother Boo laughed at me, claimed his rightful place in the driver’s seat and smoothly drove off to finish his mowing.

Glory

Later, once we all knew how to drive and had cars with which to do it, our brothers would drive theirs until they had no gasoline left, and then ask if they could borrow ours.  Brother Bear was particularly charming in his requests and he’d fly off after we handed over the keys.  Hours later, he would return from his party or his game or his date and he’d leave the car in the front yard with almost enough fuel to drive three miles to the nearest store.  Oh, it was irritating!  It happened EVERY TIME he borrowed a car yet Martie and I still willingly handed over the keys when he asked for them.

As kids do, we all grew up and turned into our own people.  My brothers started a band and played on big stages for a while.  They got married and had families and pursued other dreams when the band faded away.  Sometimes we stay in touch with regularity and sometimes we have to have marathon sessions for catching up because it’s been too long.

 

Band Member, Boo, Bear, Band Member, Band Member

Band Member, Boo, Bear, Band Member, Band Member

When Poppa got sick, Brother Bear was able to fly in to lend his support.  I picked him up from the airport and drove him to the hospital where we sat with the rest of the family in a vigil for hours.  We soon realized that the vigil would continue for longer than hours, more like days, and Brother Bear and I took turns staying overnight with Poppa because he couldn’t be left alone.  I’d drive home at midnight to sleep and then in the morning would relieve Brother Bear so he could take a turn at my house.  He’d take off in my car, pick up food and then crash for a few hours before coming back to relieve me.  It was a terrible time.

After a particularly trying night, I left the hospital, weary to my bones and sad.  The two of us knew before anyone else, I think, that Poppa as we knew him would not be coming home.  I got in my car and started it up for my drive across town.  I glanced down at my dashboard and you know what I noticed?  My brother had filled up my car.  My tank was full.  I laughed through my tears all the way home.

Handsome

This Thanksgiving, the four of us could not be any further apart.  Not one of us will see the other today.  It’s okay, though, because we don’t need to see each other to know we are loved.  Our hearts are connected by more than that.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

 

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle
    Nov 27, 2014 @ 18:56:31

    Brought tears to my eyes… So touching.

    Reply

  2. Madre
    Nov 27, 2014 @ 19:11:55

    I love you, Sweet Daughter, Happy Thanksgiving ! Have fun in Pensacola and be safe on your way home !!

    Reply

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