Thursday, June 18, 2009

Memories of a Cousin

My cousin is getting married soon. I was sending stories about his childhood to his bride-to-be and thought I'd share them with teh interwebs. (I know you read my blog, you can leave a comment to refute anything you think you need to, otherwise, as the older, wiser cousin, my version stands and there will be no more debate about it being your fault!)

We (I) used to bully him into everything. At Aunt Nona's, I remember deleting all the channels off the rotation on the TV because he kept changing it by pressing the buttons on the front of the set. (Clearly, being the oldest and the one holding the remote, I was in charge.) We were supposed to rotate control every half-hour, and I don't recall violating that rule, but we may have. (It was decades ago, who knows for sure?)

Grandma kept us for a summer or two. One day, for some reason, he was chasing me through the house. I didn't look back to see how far behind he was, but as we were running down the hall, I grabbed the living room door and pulled it into his path behind me. He hit it with the heel of his hand and as it was a hollow door, his hand went through. We got in big trouble for that. I said it was his fault because he should have stopped. (Duh, there was a door in his path.) I have no idea why he thinks it was my fault. His hand made the hole, not mine. But yes, more than 20 years later, we still don't agree.

We'd ride our bikes down to see the menagerie around the block all the time. Nothing spectacular ever happened there that I recall. But watching the reyes eat the corn out of their poop was always a treat. (I'll say it for you, um, gross.) Ok, maybe the lion was worth going to see.

There were a few things I didn't mention to her. About going down to the little town library every week or two to check out books. About doing counted cross-stitch. Yes, he had to learn, too. About making those stained-glass things you bake, using little rice-sized colored plastic pieces. And tweezers. About using my dad's prehistoric Legos. They were made of wood (ok, there were some plastic ones, too) they were only a couple of different sizes. And they came with green cardstock for roofs. (I happen to have the giant tupperware container of them in my living room. They will be returning to his possession on Father's Day.)

Every day we'd play with his 'Little People' and matchbox cars and other miscellaneous treasures. We'd put them all in a pile and would draw one at a time to get the best pieces. I'm sure it was fair and we rotated who went first every time. (Actually, Grandma was really big on being fair. Good thing, because we weren't.)

When he was a toddler, he used to drool. A lot. My imitation of him coming in for a kiss was to turn on the bathtub faucet near my mouth. (I told you I was really, really mean. I just thought I was being funny.) He would literally soak your entire cheek. A little bit older, he'd have to stop after a sentence or two (ok, maybe a paragraph or two) and slurp or wipe his mouth so he could finish talking. Especially if he was excited. It was a lot cuter than that sounds. And it was automatic.

One day, we were playing in the back bedroom at Grandma's. He was a little bundle of energy. There were some doors leaning against the wall. He made up this little routine thing. He'd say "Be Prepared" while he jumped and kicked the outer door with one foot. "Be Prepared", jump up and kick the door with his other foot. "BE PREPARED!" And jump up and kick it with both feet. He'd do that over and over. And over.

I’m not sure I remember this one right because he was about 1. I was about 5. I was sitting up with my dad watching The Shining at about midnight. The phone rang. He left and I had to go to bed. The next day the story came out that his mom and dad were driving somewhere – I want to say East Texas – and had run into a bull that was standing in the road. They were in some hospital. I’m pretty sure he only ended up with a scratch or something. The car, perhaps a Monte Carlo(?), was messed up. They ended up fixing it and it was about 4 or 5 different colors after that. (I remember black, red, pale green, primer gray and possibly white?)


  1. About that bull incident... I would like the record to show that I was in no way restrained in the back seat. Just my little 1 year old self wrapped in a blanket. I'd say I'm like Bruce Willis in "Unbreakable" if it weren't for all the broken bones later in life.

  2. Hmmm, your uncle had a similar situation when he was a baby. In a car wreck with no restraint. No injuries. Of course, they didn't hit a freakin' bull and total their car... (Apparently your grandparents were better drivers than your parents.)


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