My brother loved his dog. They would go off hunting for rabbit, squirrels, wild turkey…whatever was in season. If they shot anything, the small animal would find its way into the big boiler and we would have a different kind of supper! For those of you who have never had rabbit or squirrel…I’m sorry. They really are rather good.
My brother played football until he was “saved”. Then he thought that God did not want him to play any more. The team missed him.
Early in his life he had broken his leg and was held back a year, therefore, he and my older sister ended up in the same grade. I remember how he helped my sister with her homework; she would cry because she could not work certain problems and he would sit and work with her by lamplight. It was before we had electricity. We had a really neat Aladdin Lamp. My sister still has the lamp. Of course, it has been electrified.
After graduation he went to Iowa to become a pastor. We called it preacher back then. He lived with a nice older lady who made sure he had something to eat and was warm. He went without any money to speak of and I often wondered how he got there. Did he go by bus? I’ll have to ask my sister because I don’t remember.
He was a good preacher; his sermons were not long and drawn out; made his point and sat down. He married and had children but that is an entirely different story.
Mother’s love of flowers carried over to all her children. Before my brother knew he would die so young, he and his wife had purchased a place to retire. I remember how he would go off into the woods and dig up native plants to place in his yard. Mother shared all her plants with them as well. It became a showplace much like Moms.
His last posting within the Methodist Church was on the Philadelphia Indian Reservation. This was coming full circle, so to speak. The Choctaw had owned our land when my great great grandfather had traveled there as a doctor. Some of the family stories are that we received the land in The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. I have not been able to ascertain that this is true. He knew Chief Martin because he and the Chief espoused differing opinions about bringing casinos to the reservation. My brother based his opinion on the devastation wrought on family members of his congregation by alcohol. Casinos would make it worse, he argued. We all know who won that argument!
Diagnosed with cancer, he retired from the small reservation church. The illness was not long and he truly did not suffer… February to December, dying on Christmas Eve the same year. My sister and I went to see him before he left the reservation and I remember looking back as we left for the last time. He was standing there with his dog, not the one above, but one in a long line of “best dogs ever” bending forward with his hand on the dog’s head with this translucent look on his face. He appeared transparent as if in another world already. He was more handsome as he approached death and very much at peace. When he died, the dog disappeared and was never seen again. I hope dogs go to heaven.
Chief Martin gave the eulogy at his funeral and the members of his congregation sang the graveside songs in their own language. A great tribute to my family and a testament to the life my brother had lived.