Monday, March 13, 2017

The Draining of the Beast

It is 12:11 on March 14th, 2017. I have insomnia.   I suspect that 42 years ago my mother wasn't getting much sleep either. I do know that she was cooking date nut bars and ate most of the pan in a third trimester pregnancy craving.  I also know that she had to be rushed by ambulance to the hospital and that because there was a blizzard the cart went through a muddy spot on the way into the house and left a mark on the floor.  My 2 year old self would point this spot out until we moved.  I was probably suffering PTSD from the birth of my brother. I am really not over it.  So, in honor of my baby brother here is a Graham story.

I would like to preface this story with the fact that I was away at The University of Tennessee during this story, behaving like an angel, and had no part in it at all.  

My brother had some friends, two brothers.  I won't mention their names in case they want to stay unidentifed, but I ended up working with their dad and he has confirmed the details.  Anyway, these two boys' parents went out of town.  The parents left the boys home alone to watch the house so of course the boys and their friends planned a party.  They found somebody of age to buy them some beer.  They had it chilling in the fridge and were waiting for the evening to unfold.  Well, the parents got partway down the road and realized they had forgotten something so they turned around and upon arrival realized that the boys were up to something.  They opened the fridge and it was full of beer. Bom Bom Bom...Party over.  My dad gets a phone call and it goes something like this.  "Hello Greg, this is J*** B****r, could you come over here and get your son's beer". Bom Bom Bom. Graham's in trouble.  Dad went and got Graham and the beer.  When the got home he made Graham pour all the beer down the drain.  (Some may ask why Dad didn't drink it.   It was Milwaukee's Best Light.  You can't drink that if you are over 21.  You lose your adult card for sure.)  My dad told Graham he was grounded for two weeks minimum, but he couldn't be ungrounded until he told him who bought the beer.  Graham refused to give up his source.  After 6 weeks my Dad was begging for him to give in.  Nope.  Graham was taking it to his grave.  Eventually my dad couldn't take anymore and he let him free.  Way to protect your source dude!  

Happy Birthday Bro!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Barn

Dad and Caroline playing with the barn.  Dad is holding the Outhouse

When my dad and my uncle were children my grandfather built them a barn.  The barn was made of wood from orange crates. I think he ordered the pattern from a magazine.   My grandfather, never one to do anything half-assed not only made a barn, but several out-buildings, a stable, fences, and an outhouse (or as he called it, the shitter). He hand made the hinges.  It was painted red with white trim and a hunter green roof.  My brother and I played with it as children and when we grew older it was moved to the garage for storage.

One day, Graham and I ran across it while we were stuck with each other with nothing to do.  When Graham and I would fight our parents would punish us by saying we had to play together.  When we were really bad we got kicked out of the house until the streetlights came on and could only come in to go to the bathroom.  It must of have been one of those days when Graham was being particularly horrible to me because for some reason we were locked out of the house playing in the garage.  We came across the barn and decided that it looked like it needed an update.  It was probably about 30 years old at that time.  We thought we do something nice for Dad and we would paint his barn for him.  We found some paint.  The spray can said green.  Graham and I were not very artistic so to us green was green.  We took the can of bright lime green paint and tried to update the barn.  I am pretty sure neither of us had ever used spray paint before. As the paint started to drip down it was very apparent that we were going to be in really big trouble.  (I can't believe Graham would do something like that.  What was he thinking?)  As usual Graham wouldn't take all the blame so we both had to tell my dad what we have done.  I remember the look on my dad's face when he saw what we had done.  I know now as a parent how hard it is to look past what was done and instead look at the intention.  My dad knew our intentions were good.  We got in trouble for getting into the paint, but not for what we did.

Fast forward 25+ years.  It was probably August because my mom was asking us what the kids wanted for Christmas.  Of course the kids really didn't need anything, but for some reason the barn came to mind.  I asked my dad to clean up the barn for Owen.  It was the best Christmas present ever.  Owen loved it and played with it for years.  When Caroline was old enough we set up the barn for her too.  Now my nephews and nieces are playing with it at my in-laws house where it is staying for safe keeping.

Thank you Grandpa Little for lovingly making the barn.  Thank you Dad for cleaning up a mess that I made so many years ago.  But most of all, thank you Dad for showing me how important it is to not just look at what someone did but to look at the intent of what they did.  It really is the thought that counts.