So, winter has come. At least as far as I am concerned. It is now dark when I get to work and dark by the time I get home from work. I guess my seasonal depression has come because lately I haven’t felt like my joking self. I am not really depressed, I think I am just feeling more reflective. Just the other night as I was tucking in my oldest son to bed, he asked me to tell him a story about myself when I am child. Generally, I try to tell stories that make him laugh or teach a moral that I learned the hard way. On that night I told him the story of my first dog, Bo. When I was about six or seven my family lived in Conway, Arkansas. We lived in a very old house in the middle of nowhere. The street out front was a highway and on the other side was a milk farm. For Christmas that year my parents got us a little toy poodle puppy that we named Bo. He was so small and sweet. He was the runt of the litter and the only one that survived. Our entire family just fell in love with this little dog. It was about a year later, as I remember, that we were celebrating Bo’s birthday. My Dad, a Marine, was inside the house making a cake for Bo’s birthday and my brother and sister where inside also. I was outside playing with Bo. He loved to bark at the cows and that day was no exception. However, on this day he decided to go into the middle of the highway and bark at them. As soon as he ran onto the road I started yelling at him to come back because I saw a big jacked up red neck truck coming. I screamed and yelled, but Bo was too busy barking at the cows. The truck came flying down and ran over Bo. I am sure that he did not feel a thing. I was crushed. I ran inside and grabbed my Dad. He ran out and picked up Bo. We took him to the backyard and buried him. Everyone was crushed in the family. Even my father was crying. My mom came home from work and I remember that we gathered on our knees to pray for Bo and for ourselves. We all tried to pull it together but as soon as we all got quiet, we heard a little more whimpering from behind the couch. My younger brother had climbed behind the couch because he couldn’t stop crying. We all lost it again.
I wondered why this story kept coming to my mind on that day. There have been no deaths recently and I have another dog today that I love very much. After a while I realized what it was. In the past year my brother and I have become estranged. I think that is the right word. My brother has left his family and is going down a path that I know will only bring him sorrow. I have only spoken with him twice in the last year and neither time ended well. I know that I said things that did not come across how I wanted. I was just trying to help. That image of him behind the couch crying left a mark on me that I have never forgot. I remember that I tried my entire life to protect him so that would never happen again. Just a couple of years later he mouthed off to a kid that was 4 or 5 years older than us. The kid came after him. I could have let him take his lumps, but instead I jumped in with a big stick and took that big kid on. Later, I remember him struggling with asthma. We went on our first extreme boy scout camp out. I was so worried that before we went on the big hike, I took all of the heavy equipment out of his pack and put it in mine. He never knew. I have always tried to protect him and help him. I never wanted to see him crying behind the couch again.
Now I see him going in a direction that I know will lead to sorrow and tears, and there is nothing I can do. I can no longer take things out of his pack or take on the big kid for him. It makes me sad.