Lots of folks used to ask me ‘bout “Brother.” Some have said they feel as though they have known him since I have written a lot about our escapades, growing up on the farm.
He was truly a wonderful human being; the most gentle person I have ever known. Brother wouldn’t hunt very much, because he didn’t want to harm the animals and he was often scolding me because I was always shooting critters with my trusty B.B.
“Don’t kill stuff,” he would say. “Let it live and just enjoy watching it.”
“But I just want to eat,” I’d argue. “Look at them big legs on that bull frog.”
Brother would shake his head and say, “You’re hopeless, pest.”
He was very protective of me too. More than once, he came between me and trouble in one way or another.
Once at our one-room school, we were having race – it was cold outside and as we lined up to run, I was positioned next to two older girls who were much bigger than me.
As the teacher shouted “Go,” I took off in a big flash and left the two bigger girls behind. (I was skinny as a rail and could run like a deer.)
One of the larger girls caught up with me as the race ended and, grabbing the end of my old coat, she spun me in anger. My old winter coat ripped out at the should.
“You little squirt, I would have won it if it hadn’t been for you,” she shouted!
About that time, here come Brother; his face red and angry. “You let go a her. you done tore her coat and you touch her again and I’ll stomp the tar out of you!”
And he meant it, cause that big girl took one look at his face and stepped back. “Awe, I was just joking. Here, let me fix your coat,” she said, real nice like; whipping out a big safety pin and trying to pin my old coat sleeve as it hung from the shoulder!
Another time we were “pampering” the old farm house. Moma had fixed a big kettle of homemade paste. With everyone helping, Brother began to strip the old paper from the walls. I was around 5 or so, and some paste spilled on the floor.
Being a child, of course I stepped in the paste and well, you can probably imagine how dirty I was what with those old wooden floors and all the paste about…
“We’ll get you cleaned up when we get finished with this paperin’,” Moma told me. “Just try to stay outta harms way.”
About that time, some folks from a nearby town dropped by to visit. Everything was such a mess. These folks had a little girl the same age as me. She gingerly entered our old house, looking about. I remember she would a gingham dress with a beautiful white pinafore and her blonde hair was in finger-roll curls and she stared back at me. Staring at my bare feet, which had paste and dirt between the toes, her gaze traveled to my face, which was also quite dirty.
Placing her hands on her hips, she said loudly, “You are the dirtiest person I have ever seen! Why, you’re dirtier than a pig!”
To which Brother, stepping forward, his face flushed, replied, “Well what is it to ye’ twert? If’n you was a workin’ like we’d been, you’d be dirty too. Fact of the matter is, Miss Hooty-Tooty, it ain’t none of ye business.”
The grown up laughed, but mama was a bit embarrassed.
Anyway, he always took up for me, his pesky little sister, and I loved him for it. When he died, I lost a dear friend, ally, and a beloved brother.
But I know in my heart, I shall see him against someday. And when I reach those “pearly gates” I’ll be looking for “my brother” and I’ll probably hear him say, “What took ye so long, pest?”