The Beauty Of Them

She stands there in the doorway peering at me with rainbows and butterflies in her eyes. Her beautiful mind chases those winged critters. She calls to them from her perch upon that colorful arch. She doesn’t really hear me as I call her name, not really. It’s so easy to stay in that place I see reflected in her gaze.

He stands behind her. His eyes sparkling a shiny blue mischief below that cocky cowlick. The intensity that is him, emanates from his sturdy little boy body. His pointy eyebrows furrow as his crooked little mouth spouts back at me, “Grandma! What do you want? We wanna go play outside!” His hand rubs a dirty trail across his brow.

The butterflies skitter and scoot away in a poof. Her lovely almond eyes focus and she snaps to attention. A barefooted little waif below a heavy mass of long dark hair, she confirms her brother. “Did you call me? Will you come play with us before it’s too dark!”

I am lost for a bit in the beauty of them. Best friends, big sister and little brother. Two hearts forever entwined. The perfect, raw innocence captured in that single moment. My heart squeezes a bit at the sureness that this is but one tiny flash of their life. Never to be remembered by them as they grow like the wild weeds in my back yard.

The waning sun cradles them, standing at my door with questions in their eyes. They can’t know the perfect gifts their souls are for me. A dirty little foot lifts to scratch a bruised leg as pictures echo. I think I hear my own intense little brother with mischief in his call. Long gone summer evening, he perches on that old walnut tree swing with fireflies in his eyes. Calling and calling, “Come on Sis! Come swing with me!” I was always lost in the beauty that was us. Best friends. Hearts forever entwined.

I shoo them out the door as the heat rises up to hug them. Run free little ones. Chase those butterflies, slide down that rainbow. They don’t understand how they came to me. They didn’t get to meet her as a little girl. Their own mama, running through the green grass, calling to me through the years. No they will never know their uncle when he was just a boy. That sweet boy with the teasing eyes and same cocky cowlick. She hangs upside down with flowers in her hair. Butterflies and rainbows all up in her mind. He laughs at her and turns to call to me, ” Hey Mama, come play with us!” Little sister and big brother, unaware of the beauty that was them. Best friends. Hearts forever entwined.

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O Brother of Mine

Andy, Me, Peggy, George (4 of 12 sibs)

Hey brother did you know?  I have all these memories of us growing up together? Do you have these memories tucked away too? How magical we were together, o brother of mine.

“Hello little baby, I see you through that old white wrought iron baby crib.” Do you remember that old four post bed with the brass knobs? Maybe I climbed in with you, I’m sure that would be fitting. Maybe I was just impatient for you to hurry up and be big enough to come play. Maybe I already knew the magic we would create.

You see little brother; I don’t have memories of mom bringing you from the hospital or changing your diapers and helping you to walk. Just memories of you and me and the fun we had. Remember that sandbox in your third year? My goodness we spent so many hours there building our bridges and sifting sand! It was there we first met the little boy, Jeffy, our blood brother and constant childhood companion.

I feel the sun of our summers together and see us running everywhere we went, the bikes we rode, ramping everything we could. The old barrels we would stand and balance on, walking them carefully across the yard. Everyone in our town knew of our wonderful bag swing and often would join us. The huge old walnut tree Y’d in the middle allowing us to swing from three levels.  We were acrobats in a circus and we owned the wind that blew passed our ears. The laughter, the arguments and the challenges I still can hear.

The trails, the swamp, the Indian village and the year the Quatman family bought our wilderness and began to build their lumber yard. We climbed and lay in wait on that dirt pile, aimed our toy guns and planned their ambush.  How dare they take over our land! We were too small to understand we didn’t own the trails and the swamp and everything on the land neighboring our yard! We hated them for stealing our world, for tearing down the tree with the grand two story tree house built by our older brothers. We refused to let them stop us. We played around them and knew to hide when we saw them coming.

Our brothers and sisters played beside us, sometimes present, sometimes not. Still, we reaped the benefits. Do you remember those clubhouses they created and the old store Peggy put up in the old chicken barn? Remember that nice old witch, Broom Hilda? Remember the night Jeff and George created the wind sail and we ran along beside that little red wagon as it sailed that windy night?

 Tell me dear brother of mine, where have the days gone, where is that creek we called “Sandy Beach”, the large tubes we lazed on as it took us along? So many memories we created without even knowing.  These memories seep from me and yet no one but you understands the places I have been, the adventures we created.

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