As I awoke this morning, my brother was on my mind. Last night, I drove to Sapulpa to have dinner with him. That has become a ritual over the last year and a half, since Terrie died. About every two weeks, I head that way for just an hour or so. Just some time to fill my need to be near family.
Last night, his youngest daughter went with us to have catfish. We had a great time together, laughing, and telling stories. My niece commented on how great it was to hear my brother and I exchange quips. We have the same type of humor. We seem to think along the same lines of thought. We are much alike, but still our own .
I have always loved and looked up to Larry. He is almost five years older than I am. Mom would tell of when I was brought home from the hospital, she placed me on the couch and told Larry to watch out that his little brother didn’t roll off the couch and get hurt. She said he stood next to me and watched diligently until she came back into the room. I don’t think he has ever left his post. He has always watched out for me and my sister, Brenda.
When we lived in California, Larry went to work with my dad, during the summer.
Dad was a plaster, by trade and Larry would work as a hod carrier. He would carry plaster in a wooden trough on a pole that looked like a shovel handle. He would bring the “mud” from the mixer to my Dad, who might have been on some scaffolding. If I’m correct, Larry was almost 13. Larry used his earnings to buy of 2′ or 3′ deep above ground pool for us to enjoy.
Of course, in my mind, one of his greatest things he ever did was getting me off of a ladder on a moving train, as I was hanging upside down. We had been playing on the cattle cars on a siding, when the cars were connected to a locomotive, it was taking the cattle cars and me to some unknown destination. But Larry and cousin Sharon were able to retrieve me. I am aware that they didn’t have to and would have had a legitimate reason for not trying, but they did and for that, I am forever grateful.
And when I was in the eighth grade, my dear sister, kicked me in a place all males fear. For that, I determined she must die. Larry had another line of thinking. He pinned me to the ground, with both of his knees on my shoulders and quietly said, “You are not going to hurt my sister.” “But she…” “You are not going to hurt my sister.” “Oh, ok” and he let me up when he saw that I had calmed down.
After Terrie and I were married, we lived in an apartment complex in Moore. . Larry had divorced and moved into an apartment in the same complex. Every evening, he would find his way to our apartment, especially on the nights, Terrie made pineapple upside down cake. He loved it and I was always grateful that he and Terrie got along so well. They had a true brother and sister relationship. Larry can be charming. I watched him become as much of a family member with my in-laws as I was. My mother-in-law enjoyed it when he would call her “darlin”. He got along with my father-in-law and with Paula too.
In those days, he was into “Willie, Waylon, and the Boys”. He rode (and still owns) a Harley. I have never had a fight with him (and who would, like at that photo above) and never wanted to. I have always wanted to write a book about Larry and his life, but there are things best left undiscovered, because I love him the way he is. Mom loved him and each of us, as we are.
Before retiring, he was a salesman. He sold lamps, furniture, and automobiles. He was a “no pressure” type of salesman. The good salesmen that I have known, have had a ability to understand people. They study and seem to know what makes people tick. He wanted the sale to be a win-win for each side. If I get puzzled on a subject, I like to talk with one of these types of guys. They offer some thought that I haven’t considered and they are usually correct.
Terrie didn’t understand, when he would come to our apartment or to Mom’s house, why we would go to sleep or that we seem pleased just to have him with us. I think it was because he trusted us and was at peace and he could rest knowing we were watching out for him.
Larry has had a great wife for thirty six years. Jean has a heart of gold and has welcomed his family and his children as her own. It is a joy to watch her with the grandchildren. She has been patient and understanding with him and with us.
‘Brother’ has always had a love for our extended family. He is always interested in our Uncles, Aunts, and Cousins. He relates in a much better way, than I, perhaps being older, they paid more attention to him. I’m just the middle/ignored kid.
Perhaps, his greatest joy is his grandchildren. In this photo, you see his left hand supporting and protecting one of his grandson’s. I think that might have been like he would have done with me when I was on the couch. There are many photos of him holding at least one grandchild. He may have missed some opportunities as a father, but with age, I don’t think he will miss many as a grandfather.
After Terrie died, Larry and Jean opened their home to me. I found serenity on their back porch, overlooking a wooded lot. They would allow me to set there alone, if that is what I wanted or they would join me for a quiet talk.
It was on one of these visit, that Larry and I sat in his pick-up, in his driveway. We were talking on spiritual things. I had observed an change in his person, he was now a more humbled person. He told me that one evening, he came to his pick-up and asked the Lord to change his life. He know he was a sinner and needed Jesus. At that point, I had been praying for thirty-eight years for his salvation and was overjoyed. He was changed by the only one who can change hearts.
There could not have been another brother better than my brother for me. Larry, you have been such an influence in my life, even when you tried to get me tickled to spew my milk at the dinner table or scratch on a screen to tell me rats were coming after me.
No, you are like none other!