7/4/18

Independence Day..will always be filled with memories from childhood. (aka Bunnies Don't Climb Trees)


I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time recently with my  little brother. Although he’s now 56 years old, he will always be our little “garcon.”  He lives about 60 minutes from us, and works his @$$ off. This means he rarely has time to come to visit as we are all consumed with the busy-ness of our lives- but we are trying very hard to make the time.  Surprisingly, when he discovered we bought a little camp near a well-known and highly sought after fishing “hole”, we have seen MUCH more of him. Hmm. Wish I had thought of that SOONER.

I think of him so very often around the 4th- and especially because his birthday is coming up soon.
He’s the youngest of three – the son my parents were thrilled to finally conceive. When my little brother was born, the nurse in attendance announced to my mother (who spoke not a WORD of French) “C'est un garçon !  Un grand garçon!”  Which I’m pretty sure means “big, fat boy!” For years to follow my older sister and I would relentlessly tease “garcon” by insisting that the French “gendarmerie” were going to come for him when he was 21 to take him back to France.  This was a strong weapon, until he was old enough to hold us down and ALMOST spit into our faces as he sat on us.
This is the brother who also sold “peeks” into the bathroom keyhole when my sister and I would take baths in our teens.   We lived in an old Victorian house that had keyholes the size of manholes. I discovered at a neighbhood reunion years later about the selling of peeks.  The worst part of all of it? Apparently he always received more money when my sister was the star. (She was more “blessed” than I.)
This is the brother who tried to teach our large white rabbit “Snowflake” to climb a tree when he was in kindergarten.  Unfortunately for the rabbit he didn’t give up.
This is the brother who put his arm through a glass door during a fourth of July party not long after Snowflake’s Memorial Service. Fortunately the next door neighbor was a naval surgeon, who promptly took him next door and stitched him up.  The surgeon’s son was Bobby’s best friend, and participated in Snowflakes early demise.
This is also the brother who buried his father’s ANTIQUE TOOLS that were inherited from HIS father in our quite expansive backyard.   Many were not recovered. In fact, I don’t think they found ANY of them.
This is the brother that would hide his poopy underwear in the closet so that our mother wouldn’t know he was pooping his pants in second grade. Unfortunately, the smell almost KILLED her one day when she attempted to clean said closet.  It took a fifth of vodka to revive her.
This is the boy who would catch tons of fish in the backyard canal when we lived in Florida, and release them into our pool.  (Along with the snakes, baby snapping turtles and objects we have YET to name.)
This is also the young man who lost his father when he was 14, and his mother when he was 21.
To my dear brother, I am so very sorry that Kathy and I were not there to guide you through your grief.  I was wallowing in my own sorrow and trying to find my way back after being cast adrift on that lonely sea of heartbreak. I didn’t even realize that I was not the only boat out there. Your other sister had her own husband, and their family wrapped her in love and comfort. I wish one of us had come up for air long enough to throw you your own life preserver.  Fortunately for us, you found a way to swim through it.
I love you more than words can say – and I hope you take comfort in the fact that mom and dad are surely and most definitely proud of the man you have become.  I know that we are.
You are incredible, and yet when I look at you do  you know who I see?
The boy who killed Snowflake.