Thursday, April 17, 2014
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Out & About • Patrick Lacombe | Brothers

I’m the youngest of three children, all boys. Yes, I’m the baby of the family. I hear people talk about the youngest sibling always getting more than the older ones, and though it may be true, the youngest brother is picked on occasionally to establish the pecking order in the family.
I remember a couple of little incidents that occurred. It was all in fun and I know my older brothers did not mean to hurt me, but when you are a kid, fun does trump compassion. The first involved an old walk behind lawnmower that Dad used to trim the yard.


I walked outside to see what my brothers were doing and I saw them working on the mower. I guess I was about five years old at the time and I knew nothing about an internal combustion engine or what made it work. Come to think about it, I still don’t. I figure I will help stimulate the economy and leave the mechanical repairs to the pros. I went over and asked if I could help. My oldest brother Kenneth smiled and said, “Sure, hold this for me.” I didn’t know what I was holding at the time so I complied. He winked at my middle brother Tommy, and said, “Go ahead and crank it.” Tommy pulled the cord as hard as he could and I let loose with a scream and instantly dropped the item that I was holding. It turns out that one should never touch the end of the sparkplug wire while someone else is trying to start the mower. This may be why I am afraid to work on my own vehicle. I don’t know what bites and what doesn’t.
The second involved an old burlap sack and my mom’s flowerbed. Again, my brothers were outside and against my better judgment, I went to them and asked what they were doing. They explained that they invented a new game. Of course, I fell for it. They told me to get in the sack and they would tie the top, then spin me around and when I stopped, I was to hop around and try to find them. At the time, it seemed like a fun new game so I hopped in the sack and they tied the top. One of them, I don’t know which because I could not see anything, spun me around a few times and then pointed me towards mom’s rosebushes. I started hopping in search of my two brothers. My foot hit the border around the flowerbed and I fell head first into some of the thorniest rose bushes on earth. I could hear Kenneth and Tommy laughing as I rolled out of the bushes. They untied the sack and I ran into the house to tell mama. Of course, that backfired because she took me into the bathroom and applied antiseptic to my scratches. That smarted even worse than the spark plug incident.
Oh well, that was a long time ago and time does heal all wounds. I can barely see the scars from the rose thorns anymore. A few years later Kenneth left for Vietnam and shortly after that, Tommy did the same. I cried when they left. I had a huge void in my life and I missed them. By the grace of God, both returned from the war unharmed. I love my brothers and they both helped me out in times of need, as brothers should.
Now that I live here in Texas, I don’t get to see them much. Kenneth will turn seventy-one tomorrow and I wish I could be there for his birthday. Next weekend, all three of us and our families will be together at a Cajun music festival in Lafayette, La. I look forward to seeing them as I desperately miss them both. Happy 71st Birthday Kenneth! I love both of you. God bless y’all and have a great week!