This wasn’t my original topic for today, but it is what hit me this afternoon with the need to write it out.
I’m sure we have all experienced a time when out-of-the-blue, we have a vivid memory of a loved one who has died. As time goes by, those moments become farther and fewer in-between, but when it hits you, it hits you!
For some reason, as I was working in the yard placing rocks around the new patio, a memory of my brother Matthew, who has been gone for over 25 years, came to mind. I couldn’t tell you for the life of me what preceded the memory.
All I know is I’m grabbing a handful of rocks and my mind wanders to my brother when he was about three years old.
We lived in an old coal company house right next to a fairly busy state road. Matthew, I believe, had what we now call ADHD. He couldn’t sit still. Plus he was very attached to our mom. Where she would go, he wanted to follow.
On this day, my mom had gone across the road to the water pump to get a couple of buckets of water for drinking and washing dishes. She had left Matthew in the house with me, and I’m sure my other siblings as well.
At first, I don’t think he fully noticed she was gone as he had been involved with something when she went out the door. He was pre-occupied enough that she had made it across the road, filled up the buckets and was heading back. But when Matthew realized she was gone, he was out the front door faster than I could reach for him. Off the porch he went, running straight towards the road to get to his mom.
Unfortunately, at that exact moment, an 18-wheeler was barreling down the road towards us. I’m screaming for him to stop, my mom has dropped the buckets and running his way screaming for him to stop, and he is running as fast as his little legs will take him towards sudden doom.
To this day, I believe something powerful in the universe was watching over Matthew just then. The semi-truck rolled right in front of him, and he is not stopping, with the tires just inches, mere inches, away from his little body—I don’t even think the truck drive saw him because he was so little—the truck passes and he’s still running out into the road oblivious to the fact he was almost killed.
The one memory lead to a flood, but mere glimpses, of other memories. Matthew almost drowning in the creek beside the house, almost falling backwards on to a hot beet red coal stove, and non-life threatening ones like the huge smile he would get, or begging to ride the Rock-o-Plane with me.
He was technically too short to ride it, but the operator let him on anyway with his big brother. Since he had seen how it could go round and round, he wanted me to get it rolling. Unfortunately, as I did, we realized what happens if one is too short for the ride. Matthew began to slide out of his seat. I had to put my leg over him quick to keep him in. Not quite sure how we did it, but I got it to roll a couple of times, kept him in the seat, laughing loudly the whole time out of fear and fun. Needless to say though, we didn’t go a second time.
It was nice moment of memories. They have left me with a smile and good feeling for the evening. Matthew may be gone, but he isn’t forgotten!