May 30, 2010
Remembering my baby brother
I'm flying to San Antonio and I wonder...are you up here somewhere? Can you hear me when I say I miss you?
As the clouds clear, I can see a lake with its many coves and it reminds me of the day we scattered you at the lake you so loved. I see crops for miles – squares, rectangles, even a triangle – all pieced together like a puzzle. This reminds me of how you always loved architecture.
There’s an enormous winding river with a boat speeding across the water, but from my vantage point it moves in slow motion. God, how you loved the lake! There is a smaller river feeding into what could be the “Muddy Mo” and it reminds me of your little girl – the one you can’t watch grow. The pilot just clarified for me – it’s the Mississippi. I wish there was a way to help Dae know her Daddy. But how when she’s so far away?
I don’t talk to you as much anymore, I know. I knew you were near when I heard “Good Riddance” in the wee hours of the morning. I felt a peace and glancing at your picture brought a smile to my face. How I miss you – your smartass comments and your crooked smile – the same as Dad’s. You know, he did always love you – the only way he knew how.
My two favorite pictures of you and me together – the one on Mo & Po’s deck when we were little (your curly blonde self!) and the shot taken at my wedding when you grabbed me and hugged me as we laughed. I love your face in that photo and how you’re nuzzled over me. I always felt you’d do anything to protect me, even though you sometimes acted like a complete jackass to me. Your smile in that photo reminds me of early Christmas mornings when you’d tiptoe into my room and whisper to me that Santa had come. The three of us would tiptoe together out to the living room to see what he’d left for us. Remember how we’d just sit there staring like kids in a toy store window? We didn’t dare touch anything until Mom and Dad woke up or they would...what would they have done? I don’t think we were ever brave enough to find out.
Do you remember swimming lessons in Albia, Royals games, Worlds of Fun (Dad and Dale puking – never drink and ride the barrel, a life-long lesson!). Remember how you used to crawl into the recliner next to Mom? I was always envious because that was your spot. Teddy – poor, poor Winnie the Pooh, stripped of his identity and forced to live the life of an imposter. Did you ever figure that one out? We thought you’d carry Teddy forever. Mom made sure you didn’t leave this world without him. I remember holding your ashes – the ashes of you and your Teddy – and sprinkling them into the lake. As always, we joked – about how you were becoming fish food. But I knew better – you’d kick their fins before they could get their mouths opened.
There are now acres of red dirt below. Remember spending summers with Granny and Papa and how, every time we visited our Okie relatives, we just had to bring home a plastic milk carton full of red dirt? Remember getting so mad at me and Dedrick that you chased us around the house with a table knife? And the day I decided to pack my stuff and run away from home...I remember thinking you’d be the only one I’d miss.
Remember using our "Matrix" moves on the gumball machine and that damned noisy glass cookie jar? Mom and Dad did bust us on those. That gumball machine now sits in my kitchen – but I’ve already taught my kids how to open the top with a coin and use a teaspoon to fish out their favorite colors. Yours was yellow. Maybe because Teddy was yellow. Blane got her hand caught in there once and I remember thinking I saw you in her face that day.
I loved the conversations you and I had toward what we now call "the end." I hated what you were going through, but I’m thankful it brought us closer and that you turned to your big sis in your time of need. We talked about God, you giving your life to Christ, your struggles, your baby girl...come to think of it, I believe one of those late night conversations was the last one I had with you. Can that be true? What would I have said or done differently that night had I known it would be the last time I’d hear your voice? I’ll never know. But I do know that our last words to one another were "I love you" because we always hung up that way. For that, I’m grateful.
Remember Anderson family Christmases, the Albia Country Club and driving Po’s golf cart? What about trips to Melrose? We didn’t wear seat belts then. Heck, Po let us sit on his lap and drive the car!
This morning at the airport Papa recalled the time you "learned" to like oysters. What are you – nuts? I KNOW they don’t have oysters in heaven. Nasty!
Whenever I wear that old flannel jacket I gave you for your birthday, it’s like a hug from you. Ugly as it is, I’ll never get rid of it. You know, I never knew you were such an awesome soldier but I should have because you were great at everything you did...as long as you liked to do it (Hmmm...maybe that’s where Taege gets it). Keile loves remembering you – especially sending balloons up to you. She said "sorry" about the one that got stuck in the tree. I told her you’d come down to get it later. She cherishes you as her godfather. She’s my sentimental one. And oh, how I wish you were here to see Blane. She’s you through and through! Living up to her namesake’s attitude, my friend. Thanks for that because I know you had something to do with it...talk to the Big Guy about that one, did you? "Let's give her a challenging one." :)
So, what do you think about this iPod craze? I bet you would have one – the best one, I’m sure. Well, we’re getting ready to land. So, I’ll close for now and catch you later, okay?
I miss you and love you, Little Bro.