Loving Family at Holidays
“Chapter 13 Brother Tim, Dad, and Relatives
Without my dog pal, I recruited my friends to follow me into mischief. I talked about sledding before, and it was easy to recruit others to join me in winter frolic on the big sled hill adjacent the State Lakes Park. When there was little snow, my brother and I would hike down to the Whetstone Creek to walk on the ice. Of course this was taboo. On one such occasion, we were looking through the ice, trying to see if we could see fish below. Suddenly, my brother broke through thin ice.
It was an abrupt and startling event, and Tim, fearful of water as he was not a swimmer, had a moment of panic. I was about ten feet away, and I walked over and grabbed him. He was in up to his knees, cold, and uncomfortable. I gave him the leverage he needed to step up from danger.
In the process, he removed his glasses somehow and he dropped them in the hole. I saw this and walked to edge again as the current pulled his glasses under the thicker ice, out of reach.
Sobbing Tim needed consolation, so I went over and put my hand on his shoulder and told him he would be alright. We both looked into the ice and could see his glasses, and I said we could come back in spring and pick them out of the stream.
When we got home, we had a lot of explaining. Mom was a good listener and of course repeated her instruction about staying away from ice and the creek and all the things that make it worthwhile to go outside. We nodded our heads while sipping cocoa and waiting for Dad to come home to ask the all important question, “Tim, where are your glasses?”
We didn’t look forward to that layer of alarm, though Mother had already worked on the mitigation plan.
“Well, Frank, you know that Timmy needs a new pair of glasses as he was wearing tape to hold them together,” she would say.
That was true, though Timmy is one of those guys who it seems is always wearing a conspicuous piece of tape on the bridge of his black-rimmed and horned glasses. That was his style, early geek.
Being my “little brother,” Timmy would always receive my oversight and protection. However, he would also be the brunt of my sometimes teasing. Timmy had peculiarities. In his early school years, he had good grades and seemed pretty smart to me. We spent a lot of time interacting.
Mother bought for us puppet wash clothes based on the Howdy Doody theme. “Which one do you want, boys?” she asked giving both of us an equal opportunity to state our preference.
I said, “I want Clarabelle, the clown.”
Tim said, “I want Mr. Bluster.”
I would not read too much into those choices, though I admit to an affinity of early clowning around, and Tim did his share of blustering.”