It’s been cold and snowy for 3 months or so. Not like North Dakota but cold for our area. When it gets cold for awhile I get to thinking about the days in central Wyoming as a kid.
We went to a 2 room school that handled first thru eighth grade so it was easy to know everyone. Two of the kids were brothers and they’ve been on my mind lately.
Kevin was a few years older than me so I didn’t know him well and Patrick was one year ahead so he was more of a friend. They had a sister named heather who was retarded. Kind of a cruel thing that happened as she was born just fine but along the way she got bit by a mosquito and had some kind of reaction that made her retarded for life.
I’m willing to admit that I was a bit cruel to Heather a few times and I ain’t proud of it. My folks raised me better. It also bothered Patrick and Kevin when people were mean to Heather but life was so much more real back then and sensitivity wasn’t invented yet so they dealt with it and took it in stride.
Kevin broke everything he used it seemed because he USED things. If he rode your bike it came back looking like a Pony Express horse. He ruined his other sister Carrie’s bike the first day she had it. People were always bitching at Kevin for his ability to break everything. We were on a lonely highway heading towards Ten Sleep, Wyoming and he worked at an unbreakable comb until it finally gave up and broke in two.
Patrick was a lot more like a normal kid with lots of energy and I liked him a lot. The whole set of kids had buck teeth and that was sort of normal back before free medical and dental. That comes up because they all smiled and laughed so my memories include wildly protruding teeth that is so rare now days.
My mom mentioned one day how the boys had been on what was then called hyper pills. I don’t remember them having any more energy than anyone else so I asked if I should have been on hyper pills and she said of course not, you kids all had healthy energy. Evidently because of Heather’s health issues the medical pill pushers had a little more influence on their family.
Well, eventually we moved to a Northwest Wyoming town for a year and then to a small South central Nebraska town so I forgot about the boys.
One day we got a surprise visit from Patrick and his dad because of an investigation going on with the clergy of the SDA church who liked little boys a LITTLE TOO MUCH as Dana Carvey would say as The Church Lady. Turns out the youth in our family had some helpful information.
We learned that the former summer shortly after we had arrived in Nebraska, Kevin had drowned in the reservoir North of Casper on the 4th of July during a family picnic. Real sad. My brother and Kevin had been real close.
All in all, things would heal as Patrick and my brother were still good friends and Patrick was moving to our town for high school the following year. My brother was stoked about Patrick being at his high school.
Some how it happened again and Patrick drowned one year later on the 4th of July at the same reservoir.
I’m sure had they lived I would have released them from mind like the hundreds of others I’ve known. But, since they died, they often visit my memories.
I know I loved you. I know my brother loved you. (he has talked of you many times over the years), and God knows your family loves you.
Goodbye my old friends, Patrick and Kevin