I haven’t written much about my baby brother and in the interest of fairness when it comes to embarrassing my siblings, I feel obligated to post about him. I am the bossy big sister, you know. It’s my duty.
He’s the quiet one in my family. The only quiet one. He’s a man of few words, probably because the vocabulary genes were all sucked up by the time he arrived in this family. Or maybe he just couldn’t get a word in edgewise and finally gave up. Whatever the reason, he doesn’t speak unless he really has something to say, and he doesn’t get in a hurry even though he came into the world that way. Mama went into labor with him so fast that daddy had to drop off me and Super Cop at grandma’s house without a phone call or a knock on the door. He barely slowed down enough for us to jump out of the car. I don’t even remember putting on shoes, but surely we did. It was October. The thirty minute drive to the hospital was almost too long. Mama came close to giving birth in the hallway of the hospital. That was the first and last time, Handy Man would be rushed. I was ten years old that autumn and thought he was the cutest thing I’d ever seen. By then I was pretty much over the “jealously over having another sibling” thing that reared its ugly head when Super Cop was born. I had adjusted to the fact that I was not to be an only child worshipped and spoiled by my parents and all others who stepped inside my circle of sunshine. I didn’t mind another brother. He was a pretty fun toy except when I had to change his poopy pants. When he got big enough to play games with me and Super Cop, we could make him do just about anything we wanted because he didn’t know he could say no. We could assign him any villain role we wanted in our Batman and Robin games, and he made a great Poncho to Super Cop’s Cisco Kid. He was great at hide and seek, too. See.
It didn’t take long for us to realize he was a little different than the rest of us. This boy loved dirt. The rest of us liked getting dirty and playing in the yard. He adored it. He rolled in it. He lived in it. See these boots?
He started wearing those when he was three and didn’t take them off until he was big enough for waders. He liked clothes in which he could trudge around in the mud. He generated 45% of the dirty laundry in our house until mama figured out it was best just to make him put on coveralls when he walked out of the house. He still managed to get filthy. One time she even stripped him to his underwear at the back door and washed off the first three layers with the garden hose. From the beginning he was happiest in his outdoor gear and boots. We don’t have many pictures of him in dress clothes. Here is his kindergarten picture.
See how uncomfortable he looks in that outfit. Of course, I’d be uncomfortable in those ugly pants, too. And what's with those yellow shoes?
He was an outdoors guy from the time he learned to walk. He took to fishing like a dog takes to bacon. He loved cars and trucks. He wore out three Big Wheels. Remember those? He was fascinated by the way things worked. He took apart his toys and put them together again in different combinations. One time when he was very young, a friend of mama’s asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said he wanted to be a mech-nic (mechanic) and live with his mom. Nearly twenty years later, he was working in an auto body shop and still living at home. It took him a looong time to move into his own house. He knew a good gig when he saw it. He didn’t take advantage of it though. He paid his own way.
He does very well today, managing an auto body shop. He can fix just about anything that’s broken, and he is still the hunter and gatherer in this family. He’d rather fish than eat, and his yard is full of toys like boats and four wheeler’s. He hasn’t married. He hasn’t found a woman yet who likes to live in a house with deer heads hanging from the walls. He likes his privacy and his solitude…and he doesn’t like to talk much. That’s okay. I’ve been speaking over him….I mean for him…for years.
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