Saturday, September 8, 2007

Brotherly Love

From time to time, I'll post a creative writing bit I've done. This vignette first appeared in the Decatur Herald & Review's Prairie Talk column in a slightly different form on March 14, 1995, and is dedicated today to my brother Steve, who is shipping off to Iraq this month to serve our country.

Brothers are wonderful and special creatures. I had only sisters until I was six, when my father remarried. My two new brothers introduced me to a breathless, inventive world. But what would we have in common? How would we play together? Surely my brothers would not be interested in playing dolls or jacks.

Soon, with help from my younger brother, Steve, I found myself racing cars down the hallway and swinging through our neighbor’s weeping willow trees. Because we were both avid fans of The Wild, Wild West, we practiced our kicks and karate chops together on my life-sized dancing doll. I was disappointed when the doll, one of my favorites, started to fall apart.

Our martial arts skills were soon put to the test. As we played along the sidewalk of our cul-de-sac one day, Steve spied Pat, a teenage neighbor boy, smoking in the vacant lot two doors down. Impressed by the Smokey the Bear advertisements regularly shown on television at the time, my brother threatened to call ol' Smokey if Pat didn’t put out the cigarette. Unfortunately,the smoking teen did not take the threat lightly; he rewarded my brother's altruism and environmental concern by stuffing him in the neighbor's trash can. Pat and friends jeered at Steve as they forced down the lid.

My brother was a little guy since he had spent the last few years homebound, battling rheumatic fever. He didn’t have the strength to fight off three high school kids, but he put up one heck of a fight. I stood by, helpless, while Steve flailed around in the can, thumping and bumping, to no avail. Finally, inspiration struck me. “Steve,” I yelled, “Remember The Wild, Wild West!” Seconds after that battle cry, my brother rallied, kicking the lid with all of his meager might. The lid flew off the can, startling the high school kids.

Of course, before my brother could escape, the teenagers had the lid back in place and were sitting on top. I had no choice but to scurry home to fetch my parents. They marched to the neighbor’s house, rescued my brother, lectured the boys, and escorted us home. For days afterward, my brother and I spoke proudly of his amazing feat (and his amazing feet). Later, I decided that the damaged doll was a worthwhile sacrifice; perhaps a sister could offer a brother something, after all.

Steve, remember The Wild, Wild West! Serve well and be safe. Love, Kris


Diane said...

Hi Kris-

This is sweet! And actually I just happen to read this last week!!! (Wierd) Mom was going through papers and found a folder of stories and poems you had written. She thought I might like to read them, so she brought them over. (Wierd isn't it?) This is a really sweet story!

I certainly will say many prayers for Steve, and your family at this time.


Sharyl said...


Although this story is much funnier with you and Steve telling it together (and him blushing) - I love the print version, too! I hope he reads it!

Love ya!

tshopson said...

Your story is a sweet story seeing that my brother did not allow me around him at all. The only experience that I remember with him is when he went down a bump while riding me on the handlebars of his bike that I have the scar from to this day.