My little brother Brian’s birthday was exactly two weeks ago. What better way to celebrate it than to write a little something about him, as is the tradition around these parts?
So many memories of our childhood center around our old house on Marquette Avenue in Calumet City. Pool parties and basketball games in the backyard, soccer and football across the street, Wiffle ball in the front yard. Our little white bi-level standing uniquely amongst the other houses surrounding us.
With three rambunctious boys, plus a dad who was more than willing to jump into the action, the basement was one of our most common gathering places. Makeshift basketball games with laundry hampers and Nerf hoops, football games, wrestling and even an ill-advised game of Hi-Lo with a jump rope only breaks the surface of the myriad activities that occurred in the basement. For years the basement was essentially unfinished, with only a completed half-bathroom breaking up the monotony of steel beams and concrete. But it was that bathroom that made all the difference.
As one might expect when big active boys start engaging in shenanigans, injuries would happen. Luckily there were no truly serious problems, only some bruised extremities and bruised feelings. While in actuality the bumps and bruises were spread equally between the three of us, sometimes it seemed like Brian was on the receiving end of more than his share. Fortunately, as the older and wiser brothers, Matt and I had come up with a perfect remedy to help him feel better. And more importantly, to keep him from running to mom.
“Here, have some water!” was a very common phrase that Matt and I would throw out there as we ran to that life-saving bathroom and got a cup of water from the sink. While the first hatching of this plan is now lost to time, at some point, we had figured out that combining a cool drink of water with cool calm demeanors would be just the placebo effect the doctor ordered to help bring Brian back around.
Anytime Brian would get bumped or seem like he was going to start to cry, one of us would rush to that bathroom to fetch a cup of water. It never failed. The only set back was during that ill-fated game of Hi-Lo (the game where you progressively raise a jump-rope for the competitors to jump over). In retrospect, we probably should not have played the top so close to that coffee table. but we never though that Brian would slip up with the rope on the ground. On the plus side, Matt and I were both smart enough to realize that a cup of water was not going to be enough to fix a large gash in Brian’s forehead.
So here’s to you Big Man! Happy birthday. Take a long, cool drink of water and watch all of your pains and cares fade away.