Saturday, January 14, 2012

jim, my brother

"Mom. Would it be okay if I went with Jim? On his cross-country truck drive?" I asked.
"When?" she inquired.
"Well, tomorrow night. I think."
"For how long?"

Just then, Jim walked through the front door.

"Oh, Jim. Mom wants to know how long the drive is?" I said to him.
"Probably four days. Maybe five," he simply said.
"What about school?" My mom looked at me.
"Please, Mom. It will be okay if I miss a few days."
"Where are you driving?" She looked at Jim.
"Well, my deliveries are in Albuquerque, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas. After that we will return home," he stated.
"And you plan to leave when?" she wanted more details.
"Tomorrow night."

She seemed to think for a moment. Only a moment.

"Yes. You may go. I will let Dad know that it is fine for you to be your brother's traveling companion," my mom said. She smiled at me.


The next evening, Jim and I were off.
Sitting in his truck.
A huge big-rig.
Ready to roll.
To make his scheduled deliveries.
On time.

I was 17 years old at the time.
A junior in high school.
Jim was one of my older brothers.
A fun-loving, humorous guy that I was looking forward to spending some time with.

He drove all through the night.
I slept.
In the bed.
Behind the driver and passenger seats.
When I awoke the next morning, Jim was sleeping.
In his seat.
With his head against the steering wheel.

I watched the sun rise. Jim looked uncomfortable.

He woke within the hour. Started driving again.


By the end of our first day, around 11:45pm, we stopped to grab a bite to eat.

"So, after we are done here, I will need to sleep a little. I feel really tired. And need to rest," Jim told me.

I nodded.

As we talked. While I was looking at him. Jim reminded me of Bill. Our brother that had passed away the previous year. They way Jim looked, talked, and smiled was a reflection of our beloved sibling.

I kept those thoughts to myself. I wasn't sure either of us was ready to talk about Bill's death. Yet, I liked feeling Bill was there, with us, through Jim's gestures.

Whoosh! I could feel the truck rock. Hard. As other truckers zoom passed. While Jim slept on. Not noticing the movement.

I couldn't sleep. I just doodled, read, and took pictures to pass the time.

Two days in, the big-rig got a flat shredded to bits inner tube tire.

"Hey, Jim. Would it be okay if I took a shower right now? My hair is really stringy, and I feel grimy and dirty. I feel gross!" I said calmly, even though my internal thoughts were screaming.
"Yeah. Sure. But let me keep an eye on that shower stall, this being a truck stop and all." He confirmed my fears of possible weirdos in the area.

Days later, upon our return home I told Jim thanks for inviting me along.

"I had a lot of fun with you on this trip. It's been a nice vacation."
"I am glad. I hope you can come along again. Sometime," he responded. Arm around my shoulder.

Having missed most of the week of school, my dad, college professor extraordinaire, wrote me a note to excuse my absence.


The school clerk didn't like the overly exaggerated, flowery wording, stating "Please tell your father to write a more simplified reason why you were not in school!"

She handed the note he wrote back to me.

"Whatever," I thought. "What-Ev-Er!"

All I knew, was that the time I spent with Jim was well worth a few school days missed.

35 comments:

  1. That's a nice bit of history to remember, and a wonderful experience for your not-quite-out-of-high-school self! pffft on the school clerk, she's just jealous that she can't write like that ;-) Nicely done d~

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    1. that's what i thought, k., she was just jell-us! LOL

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  2. Great story,Daphne, and what a good (and educational) experience that must have been for you. As well as bonding with your brother. I've also lost a brother, my only sibling, and I wish so much that I had another to share and help ease the loss.

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    1. thanks, elaine.. great memory, for sure.

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  3. That had to be a great experience for a 17 year old girl. How cool your brother was to invite you and how very cool that your parents were bright enough and secure enough to let you go along. Loved hearing this memory.

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    1. you are right, jo. yet, i don't think they or even me thought about it that way. i think my parents simply knew i'd be okay with my brother. which is great.

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  4. This is a great tribute to your brother. I bet that was a memorable adventure. Thanks for the visit.

    Joyce
    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com/

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    1. something i will never forget, joyce. thank you for reading.

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  5. As a retired teacher and now a member of our local school board, we are always stressing the importance of being at school. But this ride with your brother was so important and actually educational, that it would have been a shame to not go.
    Thanks for visiting and commenting on my site. Yes, it did cross my mind that giving my keys to him and going back in the store may not be a good idea. But Brookshires here hire "mentally handicapped" (for lack of a better description) and the guys are so cheerful and make the best employees. If he had been a "regular" guy, I might not have done it. I'm just sorry he had such a bad day.

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    1. i agree, charlotte. sometimes education takes place outside the classroom. and it's definitely worthwhile.

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  6. Mom use to correct the notes my teachers sent home and then make me return the edited versions. Fun.
    What a great way to spend time with your brother. Love your dad's note, he must be quite the card. :)

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    1. hi kelly. my dad had a great sense of humor - like you, i'd say. :D

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  7. Replies
    1. it really was, caise...
      oh, hey, i see you are following my daughter liz - everything liz... very cool.

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  8. What a beautiful story. It must have been such a wonderful experience to spend that time with your brother.

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    1. hi lisa... thanks for reading and for the compliments... definitely time with my brother is always a good thing.

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  9. What a great experience! I always enjoyed take your daughter to work day. My mom taught Deaf Education and I always enjoyed being around her students! And my teachers couldn't ever say anything about the day because it was a recognized school day off. :)

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    1. sometimes real life experiences top the classroom - and that's coming from a teacher....

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  10. Good times...I always wanted an older Bro :)

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    1. i got lucky, jen, in the brother department... i have NINE of them...

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    2. Oh my, thats alot of testosterone to deal with...lol I have one but unfortunately he is mentally ill and wont take medication...he has lost touch with reality and I have distanced myself abit to protect the kids :(

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  11. A wonderful memory of every detail of that 3 days of your life. Can you think of any group of 3 days at school that you can remember like that?

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  12. not really, carol... not really....

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  13. Amazed you kept that excuse note. Amazed they gave it back to you! :)

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    1. seriously, amazing they did give it back. thank goodness. i always thought my dad was so well versed, a role model... so for me to keep it made sense....
      i just thought... i probably should frame it. hang it. for all to see...
      thanks for reading, nancy.

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  14. I am new to this group and this is one of the first 'write about a word' that I have read. I feared writing one figured I have nothing to write about by just knowing a word.

    I was so wrong! I loved this article, I loved being invited into your home. My home was nothing like that, so loving and all, and was glad to get to know about your history. It sounded great! and well written.

    I will try to write the next time about the next word. Watch for me, or maybe I should say do not look. Mine will probably not be as good.

    Great read! Thanks for inviting me into your family even for this moment.

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    1. oh, sondra, great to hear. i find that when a word is given to me, i always step out of the box... i used to think it was weird that i didn't answer things as they should, but then realized i was just being a bit creative, without even trying or putting much thought into it....
      i look forward to following along and reading your writing.
      daphne

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  15. I echo what all the others said, seriously a fantastic experience. I am a big believer in living life. Not everything we need to know is learned from a book or a classroom, some of life's lessons are meant to be lived 'on the job' and 'in the moment', or in a truck. Wonderful story. Keep 'em coming.

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    1. thanks for reading brenda. thanks for the encouragement to write... my mind is full of stories.. it's just a matter of bringing them out.

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  16. Replies
    1. i love the note too... at the time, i didn't realize how great it was that they gave it back. i have always loved my dad's writing... he used a fountain pen, at all times.
      being a sentimental person (:D) it doesn't surprise me i still have it after all this time.

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  17. This made me tear up. I'm not sure if it was supposed to but it did. I love that your dad always used a fountain pen.

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    1. oh, wow. jane. that's a good thing - although i didn't intend to bring on any tears. i use a fountain pen on occassion... just to think of my dad.

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  18. Now that is what I call a note! Loved it, and the story. My dad was a trucker and I recall sleeping on the shelf in the back of his cab, lulled by him singing to Connie Frances... and cussing out the other drivers *grin*

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  19. yep, truckers and cool, and tough! i loved the experience. thanks for reading. :)

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