Saturday, August 23, 2008

August 27th

August 27th would have marked Ron's 53rd birthday if he had lived. As the date approaches, I find myself reflecting on many things, moments that only siblings can share: all the giggles, the smiles, our fears and tears and the fights -- Ron did so love to pick on me. I often thought it was a hobby of his or he considered it his brotherly duty. I usually broke out in tears, he usually got in trouble. But though we fought and argued, just let some other kid try to argue or fight with one of us and the other was right there, ready to do battle...the way of siblings: I can pick on my brother or sister all I want, but don't you dare.

Scenes from the neighborhoods of our youth flash in my mind, the kids we ran with, the long lazy days of summer and the fun of chasing lightning bugs and staying up late. Come fall, the smell of leaves burning filled the air and Halloween with its ghosts and goblins running door to door on Beggar's Night. Oh, how Ron hated to have to drag me along. There was lots to do, candy to be had, and little sisters did nothing but slow him down. [We used to carry extra bags with us because we got so much candy that we would drag the heavy bags on the ground...eventually the bags would break and we would have to stop and transfer all our loot to new bags.] And I remember the old house down the street from us when we lived in Oakwood. Not one of the neighborhood kids would walk past that old house, nope, not on your life, because it was haunted and every kid in the neighborhood knew it even if their parents didn't. And Halloween was a time to stay far away from any haunted house.

Winter brought snowmen and snow forts, and snowsuits so thick you could barely move and of course, Christmas! The spring rains washed away winter drabness and ushered in the joy of running outside without coats. Spring also brought Easter and flowers and the release of restlessness from being couped up all winter long.

Memories, thousands of them, all jumbled up and sleeping until something causes them to awake and haunt my thoughts. August 27th seems to wake them from their slumber.

Above is a picture of Ron's sixth birthday. It was taken in the house my dad built on Indian Ripple Road in Beavercreek, Ohio. The year is 1961. I can barely recall the kids in the picture...except Norm Jr., my cousin--He's next to Ron, Ron has his arm across Norm's shoulder, and of course me at the far right end. I vaguely recall the older girl in the back and the boy on the far left...neighborhood kids, siblings as well, but that's it. Yet for some reason I recall this birthday, the games we played, and those silly hats! It is a fond memory filled with pin-the-tail on the donkey, balloons, gifts, and, of course, cake and ice cream, giggles and laughter.

Happy birthday, Ron, wherever you may be.