My brother, Rick, and I were really close as young boys. Rick was diagnosed with polio when he was three. Early on he was 90% paralytic…. and spent 6 months in an Iron Lung. He spent a lot of those early years in the hospital, and because of that, he missed a couple of years of school. So, he and I ended up being in the same grade. Everyone thought we were twins… Rickey and Ronny. And because of that, he and I were naturally together more than any of the other brothers. We teased each other and were always pulling tricks on each other. I complained mightily about having to push him around all the time and he was always saying can’t someone else push me? Why do I have to spend all my time with “Him”….. we were constantly bickering.
I remember once when we were kids… I couldn’t have been more than eight or nine. We were going to a movie in town. It was about eight or ten blocks to the theatre. I was pushing him along and we were fussing with each other, as we always did, and when we got to the railroad tracks, I was pissed off at him, and I said “If you mess with me, I’ll leave you on the railroad tracks.” He said, “If you do, you’ll never get out of trouble”! “Oh yeah”, I said…. “Watch this!!” And I left him on the tracks…… , I mean, I was only a few feet away… there wasn’t a train coming, and he was only on the railroad tracks for two minutes, tops. Typical eight or nine-year-old boy crap.
I had forgotten this story until one day when my mom was visiting me out here in California, and we were laughing and reminiscing about the crazy things we did when we were kids. And I told mom the story… she did not think it was funny. She got mad at me, and I mean really, really angry. “How could you leave your brother on the railroad tracks? I am ashamed of you.” I’m not sure I had ever seen her as angry as that.
I said “Mom, I was eight years old, and I didn’t leave him. I was just messing with him.” She was unmollified! As a matter of fact, a couple of years later we were at a family gathering, and Mom brought that story up and was still angry at me for leaving my brother on the railroad tracks. So my advice is to listen to your brother when he says, “You’ll never get out of trouble”… and to be very careful what you tell your mom.