Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Original Brother-Man ...

...Is, of course, my brother Darryl. He is, as we are both fond of saying, my favorite living dude on the planet. And we do rib and tease each other a lot ... so much so that every once in a while it's necessary for me to remind myself how much he really means to me. So, a story from those "thrilling days of yester-year..."

For some Christmas during the '70's ... I wanna say it was 1973 ... Darryl and I got exactly what we had asked for: Lone Ranger and Tonto action figures -- they looked like this:

We had the horses (Silver and Scout) and everything ... and we LOVED those toys! Played with 'em almost non-stop. Well, one day, during one of their many wild adventures, Tonto fell off a cliff (it was actually the dish cabinet in the dining room). He landed funny and one of his legs snapped right off. The injury did not at first seem too serious. But after hours of surgery involving Scotch Tape and Elmer's Glue the grim reality began to settle in upon us. Tonto was dead. Now Tonto was Darryl's toy and he was, as you might imagine, devastated. I suggested that maybe Tonto could be one-legged ... you know, like a pirate. No, Darryl insisted, he's gone. "So what do we do now," I asked. "What you're supposed to do when somebody dies," he replied. "Have a funeral."

Darryl began preparations for the interment the next morning. Meanwhile, the Lone Ranger attempted to venture off on his own which theoretically should have worked out okay ... I mean dude was the LONE Ranger, right? But it wasn't quite right, not at all right actually.

So, the next morning we had a funeral -- attended by Darryl and me along with the Lone Ranger and the two horses. I don't need to tell you, it was a terribly sad affair. The Lone Ranger couldn't take it ... he swooned and dropped dead right there in the back yard. "What happened," Darryl asked. "He's dead," I replied. He then tried to convince me otherwise ... nothing was wrong with the Lone Ranger ... he looked as good as new. "I know, but the Lone Ranger's no good without Tonto!" And so we had a double funeral that day.

And now, here we are 35 years later ... grown men with families and careers and schedules that keep us from hanging out as often as we would like. And when we do spend time together our camaraderie is punctuated with a sort of mutual -- though laconic -- respect, admiration and love. I can honestly say that we have never fought ... I can't think of many times when we were even angry at each other. He's still may BOY -- and I'm still his! That, and the two plastic dolls lying side by side under about 8 inches of soil in the backyard of number 51 Hiawatha Road are testimonies to the fact that, even to this day ... the Lone Ranger ain't much good without Tonto.
My brother is a good man ... the saying goes that you can't chose your family only your friends. I am glad ... I am proud to say that Darryl Owens is both to me.

1 comment:

VallyP said...

Van, that was one stirring piece of writing. It made me feel quite teary too. Your brother and your sister must have an incredible bond with you. Isn't that wonderful? I have two brothers and a sister, all of whom live in the UK, while I live in the Netherlands. I am very close to my sister, and I love my brothers dearly but they aren't very communicative, so it's difficult to keep the ties. I envy you yours...