Autumn

Autumn

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Ramble

I hear a mockingbird's song, the tick tick tick of the timepiece above my desk. The sound of light traffic, and now a titmouse, or not. I hear the strong wind as it shifts the bracket of my old thermometer against the window frame. The squeak of my chair as I shift, and if I listen very closely, my breath. I hear the rattle of my silver bracelet when I move my wrist to type this...and I hear my keyboards padded strokes. Yet I grow deaf with age.

There was once a grove of gray-backed oaks with limbs heavy with Spanish moss. The grove was locally known for its high population of Fox and Gray squirrels and my bother and I hunted there as often as possible.

My brother was a pissant.

I, the eldest by four years, was wise and gave great counsel to my younger and height challenged sibling. I demanded, as befitted my status as older brother, obedience and discipline. Younger brother balked. He defied me. Me, a man of twelve whole years of life on this earth. The mighty mountain man of Florida and great slayer of the deadly saber-toothed squirrel. As was my birthright I'd correct his behavior, his sniveling disregard for my instructions, by a well placed palm against his noggin. Properly applied the results were most remarkable.

Early one frosty morning we eased from the house and moved as one towards the ancient live oak grove. We followed the creek bank and our boots squeaked in the pure white sand and the trees were alive with the drums of woodpeckers and always the scent of pine and oak mast and the water gave mist in the November chill.

Thirty minutes found us deep in a patch of palmettos our backs towards the gray bark and our shotguns close. He'd wiggle. Shift, and readjust his placement. Sniffle. Cough. Wiggle again. How many times had I suffered such misbehavior here in the cathedral of squirrel...my patience was worn to a razors edge. I smacked.

The blow landed like a small cannon to his right ear. He screamed. The birds took wing and the small game froze and our hide thus revealed. He continued to yell bloody murder so I whipped out another blow. Hey, you don't mess with older brothers.

He settled, stilled. Grew quiet. Contemplative. He gave me, a look. The sun had barely broken the eastern rise as we shared a thermos of coffee. Swift glances in his direction revealed one very disturbed boy. Some seconds later hr gently placed his coffee on a stump, took his single shot .410 in hand, and rose to full height. My brother, the peon, looked at me and said, "I'm gonna shot you in the ear."

"No you're not."

He smiled.

I asked, "You serious?"

Sometimes you just know.

He drew back the hammer on his Western Auto shotgun.

Quick as a snake I took to my feet and turned to run. Within two steps the muzzle blast just kissed the other edge of my right ear. It brought me to my knees. My world became one with pain. I did not hear the distant bird song nor the wind or the rustle of underbrush as I shifted my hands for purchase. I did not hear the creek's early morning flow, nor the hammer of the woodpecker, and for a brief few seconds, truly felt I'd never again hear mine own heartbeat.

 He disappeared into the brush and trees.


We're older now and all is forgiven. To this day neither of us turns our backs on the other when shotguns are present. And, he's still a pissant.

Stephen





   

24 comments:

  1. Suddenly, I'm happy to never have had a brother.

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    1. You haven't missed out....they're useless.

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  2. I'd have aimed for your butt.

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    1. His way of thinking...I eye for an eye, and ear for an ear. Took weeks for my hearing to return to normal, kinda.

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    2. thanks for that, Matt, buddy. it reminded me of the time when my little brother shot me in the bum with a bb gun. i still have little dents on one cheek. no worries tho, after he shot me, i grabbed him and rolled him underneath 2 nearby oil tanks. he was covered in oil. my mother had to scrub him in the tub with and sos pad to get the oil off. haven't thought of that incident for years Matt and Stephen. so thanks to both of you. now off to rub more vitamin e oil on my dents - bahahahahahah!

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  3. Replies
    1. His shotgun. His point was well taken.

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  4. I used to think I missed out being an only child...now I am rethinking that. Nowadays you would both be in reform school,, ha ha

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    1. Very true...reform school for we children and prison for our parents. My mother loved switches she'd cut from her old Plum tree. She used her cut of justice on our backs and arms as she held us by one hand which gave us a chance to dance in circles and scream bloody murder on those very rare occasions we crossed her with our select language and misbehavior. Today we'd all be under the jail with news coverage at six.

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  5. So much here, Stephen. But I don't need to tell you that.
    My husband grew up in a similar situation.
    Never forgave his parents though later they tried to apologize.

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    1. Times were different then, so they tell me. I suppose I'm a very pure reflection, in the opposite direction, due to my treatment as a child. I am and always shall be very protective of the little ones. They are my weakness. If for instance I notice a child under harm in public I will come unglued and bring God's wrath to the parent. I can't help myself and have indeed embarrassed my wife on several occasions. To watch a child weep is enough to cut my soul. Sorry, lack of sleep tends to give me the rants.

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  6. And by the way . . . I'd pray for insomnia if I could string words together the way you do . . .
    Still . . . may you find peace and sweet dreams over time.

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    1. Thank you, Dear Lady. I'm just kinda weird.

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  7. Wishing a sweet man . . . peace and sweet dreams.

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  8. P.S.
    I sleep with my laptop beside me on the bedside stand. Earbud in the ceiling-directed ear. I steam lectures all night. Wake frequently, but manage to drop off again. I'm not just lying there listening to my own thoughts. That and a sleep med . . .

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    1. Ah, so effectively you've drowned your inner voice. Lectures, you say, okay, good. I used a recorded thunder storm, a CD. It helps but not always. If I am able to close my eyes and picture myself Hobbitied within a warm snug enclosure and use the sound of the fake rain and thunder and hold these mental pictures, then I sleep - other than the dreams,...and dreams, I've found, are killing.

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  9. Stephen. It's one of the mystery's of human experience. Why dreams? Why the self-torture? Yes. A good boring lecture . . . helps push back the darkness. Yale University has several free online offerings. Just gotta be careful in choosing. Can't stand female lecturers. Don't know what that's all about. I've spent nights here: Introduction to Ancient Greek History . .
    http://oyc.yale.edu/classics/clcv-205#sessions

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    1. Thank you very much for the link...I will use it. You're a peach.

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  10. As for sound . . . hubby and I always have a fan or air filter purring . . but something about another human voice . . for me . . . helps.

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    1. Me too, on the fans. Both ceiling and Vornado. The wife hides under the covers....

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  11. I am amazed that the mortality rate of families with boys is not higher. All I had was sisters.

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    1. I'm truly amazed I'm still alive....really.

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