A few years ago, my brother and I travelled back to our home town to help my Mom pack her possessions, sell her house and move into a nursing home. She hadn’t been well for a while and now needed full time care. We quickly settled her into her new accommodation and set about preparing her house for sale. It was a daunting prospect. My Mom had always been a hoarder, but it now appeared that she had not thrown anything away for decades. Every cupboard was overflowing and sorting through them became a nostalgic journey back in time to our childhood.
We were amazed to find she had kept many of our possessions, all neatly stacked in cupboards as if waiting for our return. We laughed as we dug out old school projects and cried as we found the collars, bowls and vet records of our long gone, much loved pets. We unearthed literally hundreds of photographs taken in our youth, but it was the discovery of a set of my brother’s darts that had us howling with laughter.
I must have been about ten years old at the time. We were alone at home (never a good thing) and had decided it would be great fun to use the darts as miniature javelins and see how far we could throw them … at each other, of course!
I have notoriously bad aim, so imagine my surprise when one of my darts ended up pegged into the top of my brother’s head! We were terrified! What would happen if we pulled it out? Would he suffer terrible brain damage or would his brains (what few I believed he had) perhaps ooze out of the hole made by the dart?
What worried us much more than potential brain damage though, was the prospect of what our parents might do to us if they found out that we had being throwing the darts at each other! There was only one course of action open to us, and that was to visit our grandmother. She had saved us from grave punishment on many occasions and could always be relied on to never tell our parents of our shenanigans.
Tears of laughter streamed down our faces as we recalled the bizarre image of the two of us racing through the quiet suburban streets on our bicycles, my brother, at least initially, with a dart stuck into the top of his head. As you can imagine, it soon fell out, which only managed to add to our terror and caused us to pedal even faster!
I have no idea how our grandmother kept a straight face while she listened to our tale, but to her credit she did, and solved our crisis by dabbing a little Dettol on top of Brian’s head and giving us each a lollipop “for the shock”.
Since leaving home, my brother and I had lived in different cities and were both busy establishing careers and raising families so we had fallen into the habit of only contacting each other on birthdays and at Christmas. During the days that followed we rediscovered each other and found that the closeness we had felt as children was not gone, but just buried beneath adult responsibilities.
Our Mom passed away soon afterwards, but that rekindled sibling affection has remained an unbreakable bond.