Sunday, December 7, 2008


I'm having trouble writing anything coherent, it's probably due to the fact that I'm not thinking coherently; funny how the two are so connected! I am a little emotional, as well. Consider the following example.

I went to rent some movies and saw "Hope Floats." (By the way, movies at Block Buster in my area are ninety nine cents to rent! I love capitalism, I love it.) I rented "Hope Floats."

Now, I knew that I was going to be emotional when I saw it, that was rather the point. My mom and I watched it together years ago and we both were incapacitated by emotion at exactly the same points.

However, I was not prepared for the volume of emotion this time around. Cut to the scene when Birdie's senile father opens his arms, silently, lovingly, to hold her and dance with her. Immediate sobbing. As in, one minute composed, watching the film; the next, drenched in tears, contorted on couch.

Next scene, when Birdie's mom says, "All mothers love their daughters, no matter how poorly them may know how to show it." Instantaneous sobs.

Cut to Bernadette sobbing and pleading with her father to take her with him. Wrenching, awful sobs.

Lastly, Birdie's mother dies and Birdie holds her in her arms and begs her not to go, not now, not when she needs her.

When I finished watching that movie, I had the same light, cleansing feeling that a good cry always leaves me with. Thank god Mom and Dad are coming out here for Christmas; Dad will open his arms to hold me and Mom will love me with all her new found strength and I will happily put my pride aside and receive it.

I keep getting calls from Keith, first he is packing, then he is en route. How strange to think that while my routine goes on, albeit slightly featherbrained, he had already begun the long, syncopated process of travel.

Also, on this day twenty nine years ago, my brother Tim was born. He was not, at first, a welcome addition to the cozy threesome I and my parents had made, to my mind. I showed this distaste by developing a horrible habit of biting him, which Mom only cured by biting me back.

Once we were over this little speed bump, I and my little brother were inseparable. He amazed me by eating bugs, live. He could climb trees and cribs at the age of two. We were our own, wild little tribe.

Our grief was large when we left the Grey House, that fabled first house, where Snowball had and lost her kittens, with the chickens behind the fence in the neighbor's yard, and where Dad plowed up the back yard for a garden. Where the stairs from the attic were unfinished, so we could crouch on them and watch, upside down, forbidden TV shows in the living room.

However, soon we were settled into our new world, a green and leafy one. We lived near the edge of a swamp and periodically, we would put on our oldest clothing, pack a lunch in ragged back packs and tromp off into them on an "explore." We brought our younger brother Scot along with us on these excursions. We would return, hours later, grimed with mud, hot and sticky, satisfied that we had set foot on the far side of the swamp.

As we grew we argued as passionately as we defended one another. Tim was fearless. He drove cars and shot bb guns, he got into the worst scrapes. When we were in our early teens, we home schooled together for one year. We spent that year mostly in my large, sunny room, talking for hours about life and love. I was amazed at my little brother's wisdom.

He was the first child to express anger in the family, he was always pushing the rules and he was the first to leave. He went out west and disappeared for a while. Years later, he returned to help me drive out there to join him.

He had a little girl by then, just like him. I stayed with them, Tim cooked his famous biscuits and gravy breakfast. We went for long drives and talked for hours. He took me to see Mannheim Steamroller in the City and bull riding.

Our first Thanksgiving, we were poor as dirt and cooked an entire chicken with bacon, carrots, onions and potatoes all around it, simmering in various sauces which we had found in the cupboards. It took hours to cook and tantalized us by the smell. By the time it was done, in the late evening, we picked the chicken off the bones.

Now Tim is the dedicated father of three, an excellent cook, a fisherman, an AM radio intellectual and the founder of his own fence building company. He has the good fortune to be loved by a good woman and has good friends close by him.

Happy Birthday, little Bro! I can't imagine life without you.

(I just got a text from Keith: Honey, I love you.
Immediately I text back: I love u too! I am counting the hours!
Moments later: Me to! I love you.

I confess; I kissed the phone.)

1 comment:

T said...

Wow girl. Just.... WOW!!!

My baby bro just turned 29 a month ago today. Weird, huh? He and I are still very close too.

What would we do without baby brothers?!?!?

And good men too!