This is the picture that my Dad did
not want us to use at the funeral home.
Susan and I insisted.
This picture is my brother enjoying his life to the fullest.
It’s who he was – enjoying his “refreshment”!
Three years ago today, I said goodbye to my only brother, Herby. It seems like only yesterday that my sister and I held his hands as he left this world for a much better place. His body was ready to go. At 48 years old, he was not. He loved life. His life choices may not have been the best but he lived his life to the fullest.
He was three years older than me and was the typical older brother. His main goal in life while we were growing up was to irritate my sister Susan and I in any possible way. There was never a dull moment when he was around. He could cheat at any game and never get caught. The only give away to his winning schemes was his smirky grin. When we played cards one time, he had a matching deck under the table so he could pull out the cards that he needed to win. He even had extra Monopoly pieces to place around the board when you looked away. I learned very early to never look away especially when I had something really good to eat!
He was the master mind of many devious plots when we were growing up.
One time, Dad brought home an old parachute from the army base where he worked. Herby and my cousin Mike, decided to attach the parachute to the cat (Felix - very appropriately named) and throw him off the roof of the house to see if the cat would fly in the air with the parachute. Mom was in the bedroom as the cat passed by the window. Luckily, the cat landed on his feet in the middle of the mound of parachute. They didn’t mean to hurt him they said. They were just testing the parachute. Next thing I knew, the parachute was tied to the back their dirt bikes while they rode down the gravel road. Oh - the fun we had entertaining ourselves!
I’ll never forget the time he hid under Susan’s bed one night waiting for her to get in. She was probably five or six at the time. Being eleven years older, he barely fit under her bed. He waited until she turned out the light and got snuggled down in her bed for night. As she laid there he held up her talking Bozo the Clown doll beside the bed making him dance like a puppet. “That’s a rootin’ tootin’ trick!” Bozo said as he pulled his string. Susan screamed while running in mid air out the door of her bedroom. I don’t remember if Mom ever really fussed him – I’m sure if she did - it probably went in one ear and out the other!
Before he passed away, Susan and I spent many nights with him in the emergency room. His mind would ramble in so many directions while we tried to keep him in the bed and off the light fixtures. One night he kept asking the same question over and over again for hours.
“Did you ever think about thinking?” he kept asking.
“Hey Susan! Did you ever think about thinking?”
“Hey Lesa! Lesa! Did you ever think about thinking?”
We would keep answering over and over again. Yes. No. Maybe. Hum.
Just when we thought he had dozed off, he would come back around and ask again.
“Did you ever think about thinking?”
Today I can answer that question.
I have thought about thinking.
I have thought about you each Christmas, birthday, and many days in between.
I have thought about how much you would love Jennie.
I have thought about how much Susan and I love you and miss you.
Yes. I have thought about thinking.