Story Time

Last night I was lying in bed trying to fall sleep but the caffeine I foolish drank a few hours before I went to bed was keeping me awake. So while I was pleading with my brain to shut off, a memory of when I was about eight or nine popped into my head.

I believe this was the summer I spent July with my grandparents. Back when I went down there and enjoyed being around them and my cousins. Before my father’s parents died and I lost interest because half of what I enjoyed was no longer within my reach.

Either my cousins would come visit my grandparents while I was there so we could play or we would head over to them. Only a two-hour drive, if I remember right.

I don’t remember why, if there was any specific reason to go there. Could have been a golf tournament. That’s the most likely seeing as Bud, my grandfather, loved to play golf. Loved his tournaments and teaching his grandsons, my cousins, how to golf. He tried to teach me but between the two of us there was no patience for it.

What I do remember though was my uncle and grandfather wanting to go fishing. The area my uncle lives is a little private community with a golf course and lake so fishing and golfing easily accessible. My cousins, both younger, and I went with them. No clue if it was forced or voluntary. While Bud and my uncle were fishing, my cousins and I were playing around on the docks. We weren’t down there long, that I remember. The sun was setting and I remember being bored.

Now my cousins were the typical boys. Running around causing trouble. Wrestling with each other any chance they got. The older one T has always been more…well, calm on his own from what I saw. Less apt to do things to get in trouble. He’s about two years younger than me. Could be a little shit when he wanted to but overall was the more angelic of the two. J on the other had I believe had horns and a tail hidden under the halo and white fluffy wings other people saw. It always felt like he could have murdered someone, be caught covered in blood, wielding the murder weapon and T would be the one to be charged with the murder. He was the golden child. And the bigger trouble maker out of the two.

So there we were playing around on the docks and J gets thirsty. He gets this bright idea to drink the lake water. T and I kept telling him that it was a bad idea to drink it but he went ahead and drank a cup full of lake water. Shockingly, later that night his stomach wasn’t agreeing with him.

It felt like he was spending hours in the bathroom throwing up everything he’d ever eaten. It probably was only a half hour to hour, maybe two hours. It seemed fitting that his idiocy be rewarded unpleasantly. We had told him not to do it. It’s not all that shocking he didn’t listen though. (I have a favorite memory of another visit to my grandparents I’ll tell in a moment that will help that make sense.)

It wasn’t time for bed and since the adults, at least my aunt and grandmother, were busy handling a crying, puking five or six-year-old so T and I started playing in their living room. I believe the men were watching golf or some other sport so were couldn’t watch television. We were probably laughing and joking around. The next thing I remember is getting yelled at by my grandmother. Reason? Because couldn’t we see that J was sick? We were supposed to sit down on the couch and be quiet while J was sick. Seriously?

It’s amazing how even after all this time, that makes no sense to me. It was his own fault and we got punished. It’s amazing how getting punished for things, by my grandmother, that my cousins did still sting and color her in a way that make it hard to like her. I love her. She’s my grandmother but liking her is a whole other matter. There was always a big difference in the way my siblings and I were treated compared to the boys, my cousins.

Now, the favorite memory I have that I alluded to earlier. In 1995, there was another boy added to “the boys.” He seems to be a combination of his older brothers. A very happy baby. Could fall and would start laughing. When he was either three or four, our families were visiting the grandparents. Could very well have been Christmas. My mother, grandmother, Aunts, my sister (I believe) and I were sitting in their living room when C went to the restroom and came out without washing his hands.

My mother has always been very adamant on hand washing and told him to go wash. There was a sigh, he looked to his mother, then turned and walked back in to wash. There was a very quick spurt of water, then him drying his hands before he came back. My mom asked him if he used soap. “Yes,” he said.

“Well, let me smell your hands.”

He turned and stomped off back to the bathroom again. This time my mother followed and proceeded to tell him all about germs. He refused to believe there were tiny creatures that could make you ill. Eventually, either he gave up and went along with her or she got through to him. It took about 15 minutes though before they came out of the bathroom.

So really after that it’s not so hard to believe J didn’t think the water wouldn’t harm him. It could just be being so young. I’m not sure. I probably was that…stupid I guess. Inexperienced enough to think nothing would or could harm me. I took a psychology class in high school but I didn’t think of these things when that was all fresh in my mind.

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