r j s

dearest ollee n bee ~

i miss our fuzzy.

fuzz ...  fuzzy ... arnie ... my middle brother, rjs, had a few nick names. he was about fifteen in this photo. he lived for anything that had a motor and wheels. born with a wrench in his hand and grease under his nails, my brother was happiest buying, building, fixing and riding go-carts, motorcycles, snowmobiles, cars, trucks, tractors ~ as long as he could tune it, lube it and ride it down the road or across the field, he was in heaven on earth. 

as a kid, he could sure be a stinker with lots of get up and go. i can't remember the story completely, but one time when he was about nine, he managed to bid one dollar at a church auction on a shoe box and proceeded to present it to my parents. wouldn't you know, there was a small black lab puppy in that shoe box! ralph grew to be our family's trusted and true friend. he would spend most of his day with my dad at the elevator and would come back to the house covered in grain dust, just like dad. ralph would contentedly chew on his bone on the lawn while my mom mowed the grass, moving over one swath at a time. he would wag his tail and watch politely while my oldest brother and i played catch. ralph was good and wouldn't chase any of the cars or motorbikes that came into our yard ~ just bark to let us know someone had arrived. even though my brother bought this dog, he belonged to us all.

my brother was so good to me, even though it drove him crazy that i was too young to do his dishes, or  that i chewed too loudly at the table. when i was older and he was old enough to drive, he would take me to choir practice. he loved to smoke, and i remember him offering me a cigarette on one of those drives. it wasn't that he was thinking i would, but it was the way he asked. i felt 'big' riding next to him.

it was one day after high school, i arrived home, hopping off the dusty old bus as usual. what wasn't usual was that my bedroom door was shut. my mom always had all the doors open. when i opened the door, there was the most beautiful, shiny white ten speed bicycle i had ever seen, sitting by my bed! mhm, a gift from my brother, who was now working his first real job.

he knew how much i loved to ride bicycle. i can still feel how fast i could cruise, switching gears, the rubber humming on the hard-packed part of the gravel road. i was so proud of that bike, but more so proud of how hard my brother had worked to buy it, and his immense thoughtfulness.

every vehicle he owned was kept in pristine shape. we always kidded that a person could eat off the floorboards, they were that meticulous. every inch of his motorcycles shone. he had this 1967 triumph chopper that only a mechanic could own. one time, when he was driving from the city to my parent's home in the country, there was some sort of electrical issue and he ended up holding a flashlight in his mouth to see the road ~ only in those days!! he could wheely that thing for over a city block no problem and there are a few pics of him riding with one foot on the seat, superman style.

the road was his calling and he loved to drive. it wasn't out of the question to head four hours down the highway 'for coffee'. i think about my oldest brother, slick and how he must have fuzzy on his mind as he rolls down the pavement on his harley (which also has every speck of chrome glistening ~ a trait shared by my dad and my brothers to the extreme : )

the irony of it all is that the highway is what ended fuzzy's life, thirty four years ago this day, march 21, 1979. no crazy stunts this time, just cruising along with his best friend in a half ton, when they crossed the line into the path of a semi. that one second in time altered time forever for our families.

mostly what i take from his short life, is to live life to the fullest. he lived freely and i adored him.

the last thing he ever said to me, just a day before he headed on the trip with his friend, was it will always be you, me and slick ... remember that. 

how could i ever forget.

with a grateful heart,

for my brothers

. . .

seventy.five | three.sixty.five

. . .

1 comment:

Bee said...

sniff... what a beautiful tribute. i wish i could have known him.

love you.