Happy Birthday, Home Boy
You will not see it on my resume, but I can skin a muskrat. I also can sculpt tiny clay balls for slingshot ammo, gather cool mud from a creek bed to soothe a wasp sting and cross barbed-wire fences without injury to my inseam. For these survival skills and many more, I credit my brother Gary.
We moved from a tiny house in Promise City and onto what is now “The Buffalo Farm” two miles north when Gary was 10 and I was four. I became the proverbial little brother he never had, which makes me one lucky duck. (Yeah, I can dress a duck, too.)
There was only one rule when I trailed along behind him over the acres of pasture and into the timber and down to the Chariton River. Never say can’t. The penalty for whining those words while on an expedition with Gary was painful: I had to go back to the house.
Each of us has someone in our life, I think, who helps us stretch beyond the limits we’ve imposed. Having jumped one stream or crossed one fence, the next is a little less frightening. And the one after that, you hardly notice, until you look back on where you’ve been.
These days, Gary and I live about 1800 miles apart. We talk by phone at least once a week and email several times. He’s semi-retired and enjoys fishing from the Baja up to Alaska, reconnecting each season with boat owners who know where the big salmon swim and the best halibut hang out. So if you’re looking for some excellent waters, he’s a good guy to ask. But once you get there, don’t–whatever you do–say can’t.
Look like it’s a long walk home from Anchorage.
Happy birthday, Home Boy.