Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Ben had several visitors this morning. Two friends from church and our Uncle Chris. It was so kind and loving of them to make the two hour drive from Des Moines. They stayed for quite a while and we all talked and laughed and told stories of my brother.
I haven't always wanted serene quiet for my brother. We have had our ups and downs, like most siblings do.
Willie and I were having some money problems at one point when our kids were young. We moved into the basement at my dad's house where my brother also lived, upstairs. I had more than one argument with my brother during that time. Mostly over stupid things. It was stressful having so many people in such a small house. Disagreements were bound to surface.
Willie and our family lived there for about two years until we got back on our feet and were able to get a place of our own again. During our stay there, we felt we owed it to Dad to keep the yard and house looking as nice as we could. We knew that it was VERY kind of Dad to help us out. It was stressful to him to have so many in the house too, though I do think he enjoyed having the grand kids around.
We landscaped the front yard. Cleaned up the back yard and put in a fence. (Alyssa, two at the time, was quite the little billy goat and we were afraid she would climb right over a chain link fence. We put up a six foot privacy fence to help keep her contained.) We paved the gravel driveway and put in a new safer sidewalk for Dad. The neighbors across the street often commented on how much better it looked and how much they enjoyed seeing the new landscaping.
Ben was not big on mowing. Dad had gotten to a point that, while he was getting around fine and doing well, mowing was no longer an option. I had told Willie as we were putting the landscaping in that it would all just go to pot when we moved out. Willie hoped otherwise.
When we did move out, I was determined that the landscaping would not get grown over. In the late Spring I went to the house and the grass was a foot high. I was pissed. From that point on, I came over every two weeks to mow.
The point was not lost on me that there was a healthy young man living in this house who was completely capable of mowing this lawn. And Dad had a RIDING lawn mower, come on! It torked me off a bit that I had to drive in from Booneville, with three small children, every other week just to mow the lawn. I must find revenge!
Ben was working nights at his job. He would get home from work sometime around 8:00 am every Saturday and Sunday morning. Let's face it, that would be a perfect time to mow. Not so hot, and good work out before settling down to sleep. Yeah, didn't happen.
One fine Saturday afternoon, I got my revenge. And yes, yes it was sweet. Very sweet. The weather was nice, a beautiful sunny day. I started gathering up the kids to go to my dad's so I could mow the lawn. My mind was turning. I really didn't want to mow the lawn. I started getting angry again. Then like the oh so familiar light bulb one sees on cartoons, and idea popped into my mind.
"Kids," I said. 'Why don't you see if Mary, Peter and Caroline can come over with us." They were the neighbors and my kids' best friends. They went and asked. A few minutes later, six kids came bounding back to the house.
HA HA HAAA, my evil plan was in place. We got to Dad's. I went to the back yard to pick up sticks and such. The kids came running into the back yard. Ben's window was open.....
I gathered the kids around. I pointed to Ben's window. "You kids go play over there, loudly!" Valerie was old enough to be a co-conspirator. She hustled the kids over to the window. I went and got out the lawn tractor and brought it to the back yard. The plan was in place. I started mowing and the kids started playing. It was a perfect blend of cruelty and revenge.
About twenty minutes later, Ben yells out the window. Ben has always liked his sleep. "Make those kids be quiet! Why did you bring all of them?!"
"Because my kids wanted people to play with!" I yelled back. "If you don't like it, mow the damm yard yourself!" I didn't hear another word out of him. Nor did I ever hear another complaint, anytime I brought six kids over to "help" me mow the yard.
Our uncle said his good byes to Ben. He was having a very hard time. It was very hard for him to see Ben like that. He left. Kathy and Jim were also ready to get going. They went over and said good bye. Tears welled in Kathy's eyes and she hugged me. Jim also was holding back tears and hugged me as well. They both left.
I ordered lunch. I sat down in the big, yet still not comfortable chair. I listed to my brother snore, and waited.