Back in 1957, I was a precocious, little blonde boy...eight years old...who idolized his older brother, Jim. He was thirteen years older than me, which put him at the age of twenty-one. I remember he and Bob English, (one of his more degenerate drinking buddies), building a dog house in my mom's basement for my german shepard.
I loved that damn dog. He was six months old, and went by the name of "Duke". I watched as the boys nailed and sawed with my pop's old hand saw. The dog house was a thing of beauty. They put a coat of varnish on it, and real roofing tile. I couldn't wait for them to lug it into our backyard.
Up the stairs they went, grunting and groaning. Lo and behold, it wouldn't fit through our back door. I watched as they dis-assmebled it. They used words I never heard before, and my mom got me out of the basement, because I was giggling and she feared for my life.
Another one of my brother's escapades with Bob, also took place in my mom's basement...My brother rebuilt and old Mercury engine for his boat. He and Bob had the bright idea to bring a 55 gallon drum downstairs, fill it with water, then mount the old mercury engine inside of it.
When they tugged on the cord to fire up the engine, I was amazed to see a water spout come flying out of that old can, hitting the ceiling, and drenching the two idiots standing next to the apparatus. My mom and dad went crazy, yelling at my brother and Bob.
I miss both of them. Bob English died of lung cancer in the 70's. He always had a kind word for me when I was a kid, and I actually shared a few drinks with him when I was in my twenties. My brother has been dead for about four years now, and I miss him every day. I wish he was still around, so I can remind him of these events. We loved to kid each other as brothers often do. I'm glad I have these memories of my big brother, Jim.