Monday, February 27, 2012
My Darling Brother part 2
Lest you get the wrong idea from my last post about my brother, he didn't always torment me (just most of the time that my memory allows). We had a lot of good times and he was a pretty good teacher too (although a lot of it was not as he intended). I learned at an early age that not everything I learned from him was kosher and would study up on things that interested me to get it right. John had his own way of playing games that usually deviated from the way they were intended to be played. Like the game of chess, he had most of the moves of the pieces right, but not quite all of them. And card games were always a chancy thing, when the rules may change at anytime it was convenient for him. But as we got older hunting became his passion, and of course fishing, but that was something to do when you couldn't go hunting.
Frog hunting probably started it all. Since we lived very close to a gravel pit with ponds and a small cedar swamp, frogs were an easy target. Stones, clubs, slingshots, spears, homemade bows and arrows, all of these and more were utilized in our endeavors. We learned how to master all of these weapons and the techniques in making and using them. Then we graduated to real bows and BB guns. And finally .22 caliber single shot rifles, maybe not as sporting, but just as fun. And the whole family developed a taste for fried frog legs.
Then at the age of twelve, John got a single shot 12 gauge shotgun and a whole new world in hunting opened up to us. Yes I said US. You see my poor brother had a very heavy disadvantage.....ME !!
He had to cart me around with him like a shadow...Mom's orders!! From the beginning he never had a chance to get away from me. So I can understand why I was a target for his angst. I also became his pack mule and hunting dog. And to his friends his "stupid little brother".
But what none of them realized was that stupid little brother was learning greatly from them and their mistakes. You see my passion was knowledge. While John and his friends were jocks, I was the nerd.
Always reading and studying subjects that interested me. I wanted to know how and why everything worked and adapted my knowledge into perfecting it's use.
So when my brother and his friends Larry and Tony would borrow the Boy Scouts .22's, I got the one that didn't have any sights as a joke. Well it's very hard to hit anything that way but not impossible. I practiced and practiced with that darn gun until I did learn how to shoot it. I worked like mad to earn enough money to buy ammo for it and spent every spare moment shooting. Before long I had perfected looking down the side of the barrel and gauging my shots until I was about as good a shot as they were with sights at close range. (I eventually bought that gun from the Boy Scouts and purchased sights for it. It's still in my collection and in use.)
Later in life I again got to learn from my big brother. About 20 years ago he had a heart attack. Not realizing the symptoms he waited too long in seeking medical attention and suffered permanent damage to his heart from clogged arteries. Two years later when I had similar symptoms I almost followed in his footsteps.
But I remembered he had pain across his shoulders and was not feeling quite right, could I be suffering the same? Luckily I decided to admit it might be and went to the ER. Yup, clogged arteries to the heart muscle, I was in the middle of a heart attack. I ended up without permanent damage thanks to my Big Brother.