My brother is only sixteen months younger than me and he was a little dare devil growing up. Greg was tough and so was I but if anything went wrong, I got the blame.
After all, I should have known better.
We were free-spirited kids, roaming the neighborhood, discovering short cuts and biting dogs and trees worth climbing. When sides were chosen, my brother and I always tried to be on the team.
Together we would win.
When Greg was six, he broke his arm jumping off the picnic table. It was his idea to run and fling ourselves off the table to see who could jump the farthest.
Apparently, I should have known better.
My family was fortunate to live close to the City Park where my brother and I were allowed to wander on our own. Nothing scared us, nothing slowed us down.
Not even my brother’s broken arm.
That day, I beat Greg to the park and climbed quickly to the top of what we called “the big-o slide”, which truly was a really, really big slide. Before Greg could catch me, I grabbed the slide railing and swung out and onto the double humped slide and took off. Greg was right behind me and when he reached the top of the platform, he did whay he always did. He stood on top of that slide, raised his good arm and his broken arm into the air and yelled for all the world to hear.
“I am the King of the Universe!”
Then I was behind him, hot on his trail. It became a rhythmic frenzy of climbing and chasing and sliding when, suddenly, I stopped on the ground and looked up as my little brother, who was up on the platform, slipped. In his fall, Greg managed to hook his cast through the railing to catch himself. Then, there he was, hanging from the top of the two-story slide, swinging by his broken arm.
I scurried up the ladder and tried to drag him back onto the platform but I was a little kid, and I couldn’t pull him up, threaten him up or shame him up. Greg was stuck…hanging by the crook of plaster cast, his feet touching nothing but air.
“I’m going for help,” I told him. “Stay right there.”
For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.