If Elijah’s big brother, Howd, took him hiking along the Brook Kerith, my big brother, Bob, took me fishing, helped build a tree house, and rode me around on his Harley.
Bob is 14 years older. Big, strong, handsome. On the sidewalks of Spring Arbor, if the old timers mistook me for my big brother and called me “Bob,” I just stood a little taller.
Over the garage
Nights we climbed up an open set of plank stairs beside the car to a naked room over the garage. It might have had an oil stove, but I don’t remember that we lit it, since we only climbed up there to sleep. Blankets and comforters trapped our body heat, and in the morning we slid into our clothes as fast as could be and got ourselves down, over the back porch, into the heated house, and at the kitchen table.
Bob did big-brother stuff with me and my friends. For instance, he rigged a pulley and rope to lift pallets and lumber up into a tall hickory, so we little guys could build our tree house way up there.
Scaring the fish
Bob hauled us down to Third Lake south of Spring Arbor, on Dad’s truck, “The Crutch.” When he dropped us off, he asked us to pose on the bed of the truck.
On trips like this I discovered I don’t have a fisherman’s patience. If the fish were biting, I kept putting worms on the hook. But if they were not biting, I laid my pole down and jumped in with them.
“You’re scaring the fish!”
Best of all, Bob put me on behind him on his Harley. I wrapped my arms around the leather jacket of his tummy, and we shared the blaaaat of his Harley Davidson with everyone in Spring Arbor and Concord.