Sunday, December 16, 2018

So Far Away, Doesn't Anybody Stay in One Place Anymore

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I don't have a bucket list but if I did, climbing a mountain wouldn't be one of my top five. One would be getting to know each of my siblings better.  If the universe worked as it should, my brother E and I would be much closer, just naturally.  Of all the people I meet, I do admit family members are some of the most fascinating.  E was always so full of energy and fun, a joyful personality.  When he finally came home from Vietnam, he lived with us for a short time but was gone a lot.  He was not one to sit still.  He had been a sergeant in the Marines.  So in the few weeks or months he was there I recall learning how to make tight bed corners and how to fold his socks and t-shirts neatly in compartmentalized drawers for him. You see, now things were much different and he needed everything to be just so.  And he was cool in addition to being awesome.  He rode his motorcycle in his army jacket and pulled up real loud so the neighbors came out.  That gave me some street cred, in my mind.  He had a guitar that he'd strum like in the movies and seemed to have a bunch of new layers on him.  Sometimes I'd just lay on his bed and daydream while he was gone because it felt like he brought that someplace else with him and you could feel it in that room. 

I felt so close to my brother when I was very small.  He seemed to acknowledge me like a real person, not just some kid.  That made me feel important. Doesn't sound like much but it was everything at that time.  He found a steady girlfriend pretty early on and I wasn't all that keen on sharing him but whatever he was doing out there at night was gaining him popularity, so much I hardly had any time with him to myself anymore. Eventually I had to let him grow and go.  And he did go, all the way to Vietnam for what felt like forever.
His return pretty much changed up my entire boring existence in that house.  I was pre teen and pre everything else. Not quite old enough to do squat.  Any outing was with my parents and I don't recall having friends.  When we went away to buy groceries or go to church he would enter little comedy sketches on my tape recorder and we'd find them when we came back, like little gifts.  We laughed and laughed and I was surprised dad got a real kick out of them too.  It was Saturday Night Live skit stuff before the show existed. Mom was always more skeptical.  She'd ask what was he doing to be so happy and different?  Of course she was probably right but I was all for it. Anything for a little excitement around there. 
You have to bring the party to your food on these boring days as well. I made a kick ass simple little coleslaw using cabbage and capers, a bit of vinegar with mayo and lemon.  And these spicy baked potato chips alongside a naked cheeseburger hit the spot.

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