The first time my brother saved my life.

(4 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

One of the reasons I enjoy The Stars Hollow Gazette & Docudharma is because I like their take on current events.  I’m always finding something new that I hadn’t seen or heard before.  I’m always finding something to forward to friends and talk with people about. But there are days I just can’t deal with.  The news, the state of the country, the hypocrisy of our elected leaders, it’s all just too much.  Those days when the only new news is the same old bad news.

I suspect it’s the same for folks like ek & TheMomCat. On some of those days I’ll find an article like  this here, a funny story about life in Connecticut, and I’ll laugh and escape for a bit.  For me anyway, a story like that IS a community service.

So that inspired me. And as long as ek is going all James Thurber Garrison Keillor, well… I thought I’d add some.

This is the story of the first time my brother saved my life. The first time I can remember anyway. There were probably other saves but I’m not very good with that time period between the venetian blinds that I remember clearly from the hospital room where I was born, and when I was about age three.  If I had to guess, in this story I was somewhere between three-and-a-half and five.

I was mad. Really really mad. I remember just being incredibly angry. I don’t actually remember what had upset me but whatever it was, I was full on furious. I was mad a lot when I was little. Probably because it sucks being little.

I had made up mind. I was running away from home. I told my family that I was going to live with the wolves in the woods down the street. The wooded area near my home was a river valley about five miles long and a mile wide complete with an abandoned railroad bed and six lane expressway being constructed on the opposite side of the river. Even with my small size, I could pull down small trees off the steep hill sides.  I would make a place to live out of small timber. I didn’t need anybody!  

I wasn’t allowed to play in the valley which was what made it such an exciting place.  It was dangerous. Back in the 70s folks around town regularly used it as a dumping ground for yard & construction debris, old refrigerators, doors still on, burnt out cars and such. Plus there were dangerous looking motorcyclists constantly racing their Harley’s back and forth on the railroad bed and out on the half finished highway.  I would jump off the cinder trail and hide behind trees whenever a motorcycle approached. I never felt threatened by them. I was fascinated by how they managed to keep their long hair from getting tangled in their back wheels. I reasoned their long hair was why they had to ride so fast. If they where to slow down and go off road to chase me, it would get snagged in the gears and they’d surely get their heads ripped off. Besides, I could run fast. Really fast when I was going down hill.

That’s what I was doing. Running as fast as my small legs would go. Down hill, away from home to live in the woods with the wolves.

I felt like I was flying. My feet were going so fast I was barely touching the ground.

And that’s when I heard him. Behind me. Cah Clomp. Cah Clomp. Cah Clomp.

I must have made twenty strides for every one of his but he was still gaining on me. He wore those 70s style brown half boots with the zippers on the side and I was wearing lace up sneakers. I should have been faster than him. Like I said my feet were flying on air I was going so fast.

Halfway down the block, only half way to the woods, my brother grabbed me by the back of my shirt and caught me. I was stunned. I couldn’t believe I had been stopped. I don’t remember if I took a swing at him. It wouldn’t have mattered. He could stick out his long arms and keep me from making contact anyway. I’d just be swinging and missing.

I don’t remember what happened next. I was probably kicking and screaming the whole way home. I just remember being amazed that I wasn’t able to out run him in those odd looking half boots. And I remember being mad about it.

Twenty years later I’d joke that I still hadn’t forgiven him for catching me.

Had I been successful, I surely would have died. Honestly, I had no plan beyond pulling down some trees and making a fort. John saved my life.  

Years later he would teach me to float on my back when I got tired swimming. He gave me tips on how to kiss a girl and how to smoke without coughing like an amateur. He taught me that when hurt, responding with indifference was way more powerful than responding with anger. He helped me write dozens of papers so I could graduate from high school. He helped me write multiple dozens of papers so I could graduate from college. He was my best man when I married. He was my best friend after my divorce. He has saved my ass and helped me out of more tight spots more times than I could possibly list. There have been times where he has saved me from myself.

Keeping me from living with the wolves was just the first time.

1 comment

    • BobbyK on May 28, 2013 at 19:18

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