Tag Archives: big brother

Back To Highway 81


I’ve been thinking a lot about the fun we had growing up on Highway 81.  I realize when I  refer to it as “Highway 81” I;m giving it an entity all it’s own, but to me it is a place of dreams, young love, first friends, family;  well, a dream that is so real to this day that I would return there in a flash if it could only happen.  No a/c, none of today’s easy living amenities, but some of the happiest memories of my lifetime.

It was out there, on Highway 81 that I learned the necessary tools of my life today.  I wrote my first poem, read my first book, met my first friends and probably the ones who will continue to be my best friends until our deaths.  Many of them are gone on ahead now, but many remain — Diane, Lou, Margaret, Mavis among the first to come to mind.  My date for our eighth grade graduation movie is gone now, but what a life he had!  He was stationed at the Pentagon on 9-11.  When he spoke about that at a class reunion so many years later my blood ran cold again.  I knew someone in New York, mainly the son of a older couple I took  care of here in Owensboro at a critical time of their lives, who worked in Manhattan,  a couple of blocks from the towers, on that day.  He lived across town and didn’t make it to work that morning, but I spent some tense hours with his dad before he got that call thru.  Sorry, thinking about Billy made me think about Bill.

So, big Brother didn’t change much after we moved to the country.  He just had a lot more space to create his mischief, and some older cousins to teach him a few more bad tricks.  Not that he needed lessons on that subject.  He made a “see-saw” across a barbed wire fence for us (I think it’s called a teeter-totter these days), then he held me suspended in the air on it until I fell off, ripping my right arm from the wrist to my shoulder.   Not a deep cut, but I remember holding my arm in the air watching the blood pooling around the ripped flesh as I ran crying to my Mother!  Sometimes I still wonder how she survived our childhood without going completely insane!  She calmly got out her usual first aid tools — the old sheet, the Black Diamond Liniment, and the soapy water to clean the wound.  I still have a scar to this day, but nobody I knew ever went for stitches  back then.  I’m sure the city kids did,  but we were country kids, and my mama didn’t raise no sissies!

Big Brother didn’t stop there though.  He burned our Uncle Joe’s barn down in the process of showing me how our new house was fireproof!  The house was built of cinder blocks — actually fireproof, but when the holes in the blocks are stuffed with hay and a match is held to the hay, inside the hay barn–it just ain’t a pretty picture!  My most vivid memory of the outcome of this however was Uncle Joe, standing among the debris the next morning, shaking his head.  I later learned he only said it saved him the trouble of tearing the barn down later — meaning, of course, after he got his hay out!  He was one really cool uncle!

IMG_6971 Miss Victoria, the next generation!


A Near Miss So Far

Big This was the way it looked Sunday, but even though I haven’t been back down to take photos since then a glance out my window tells me it is somewhat improved outside.  The predicted storm with the additional inches of the stuff seems to have missed us, even though it is bitterly cold out there.  I made it to the funeral home on Monday morning but reality set in very fast. It’s one thing to take a photo from up here, or even from the entrance while still in the warmer area around the door, quite another to actually get out in the wind and frigid air!

I had to be downstairs by 7:30 am to wait for the bus to take me, hoping they would wait until close to the correct time of arrival — 8:30.  No such luck on the later time though, he was waiting when I got to the window to watch for him.  Probably a good thing though, because when I went out I saw more ice on the entry than I wanted to drive over.  My drier moved the bus closer but there were several spots I still had to go across, toes crossed along with fingers, legs, arms and eyes — not sure, but I think even my hair roots were crossed for that couple of feet of ice.  My cell rang while I was getting on the bus but I ignored it until safely inside.  The number wasn’t familiar but i called it back as a precaution against missing some important message from family.  It was another bus driver, asking if I was still going. Okay!  One trip but two drivers? I told him I was already on the bus and we were leaving, and he said I was on his schedule.  I don;t think I ever felt so wanted, even when two people were asking me to dance at the same time.  A few minutes later the driver who picked me up got a call from dispatch informing him the manifest he was using was wrong, and he had picked up the old one,  Okay, so I had two drivers due to a mistake, better than sitting at the window for an hour and getting there five minutes after it was over.  Of course, arriving before the door was unlocked at the funeral home wasn’t the greatest thing, but they let me in, even moving the hearse so I didn’t have to sit behind it until it was at the church.   Not a bad way to start considering the fact that just going out the door gave me some sinus problems!  Nothing like a drippy nose in -5 temps.

So, I sat there with Uncle Sam for about 40 minutes, wondering who would finally show up, then looked up when I heard voices to see my brother come in with one of my cousins.  Big Bro drove in from Lexington that morning, despite the forecast of more and worse on the way.  I thought maybe he had more sense than that, but I was wrong once before in my lifetime.  Mama Ree got there next, fussed at him for me, then hugged him while looking around his tall (6’8″) frame for me.  BTW, she is 5’2″ tall, so she had quite a job seeing around him.  Once in my lifetime I was almost the same height he was, but that was a day or two ago.  I’m getting shorter, 5’6″ last time I checked, about an inch shorter than I used to be.

As people arrived I could tell it would not be a good idea for me to go on to the church. I knew the trip out last week had not done me any real harm, just a lot of discomfort in the sit-down and my stamina — to say the least, I was already tired even though I hadn’t done anything but get dressed.  Several years ago I made a cross stitch picture for my Mom on her birthday that had an old gray haired woman in a red jogging suit. The caption was:  “Growing old ain’t for sissies”.  Well, growing old with MS is sometimes even worse.  Okay, so anyway I decided that for safety sake I really should get home asap!  I wanted to tell Mama Ree goodbye, but just when I thought it wouldn’t happen without mowing down a roomful of people Diane came out of the crowd with her.  I have the best cousins in the world!  The bus arrived within minutes, this time with the right driver, and he had me home before the starch was completely out of my system.