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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sensible Sharpshooter?






When my brother David first got out of infantry training from Camp Lejuene, he was one cocky son of a gun. Although he was four years younger than me, I knew right there and then that I could never take him again. Somehow his barrel chest had expanded to a point, where I now felt he was abominable.


I regretted ever having dripped spit in his face, while wrassling, or calling him copious derogatory nicknames. Even though he was easily capable of killing a man, with his bare hands in a matter of seconds, he was still a good sport. In fact he was a shining star, having graduated first in his class from most of the hardily measured physical parameters. Neighborhood kids quickly gathered to see David return home on that first day back, dressed to the hilt in full U.S. Marine regalia.



We shared some muscatel wine that evening to celebrate. That brand of ripple, which Fred Sanford espoused so much while David and I used to laugh, watching TV together in the living room as kids. As darkness set in, I started to pull off in my yellow Volkswagen bug –the one with Redman chewing tobacco stains singed into the side. Meanwhile, David prepared to showcase his newly honed marksmanship skills.



As I squealed wheels up Whitefield St. from the dead end, a shot rang out and burst through my driver side window. I slowly hit the brakes and did not move for a long ten seconds. David thought he had killed me. He sprinted over to check on me and found me laughing there amidst the swirling muscatel smells.



To me, David explained that he was trying to skim a shot off the top of my oval roof, to show off his stately marksmanship skills. To our father we configured a separate story, which with great effort we made purposely vague, explaining the shattered window.



Much later, it dawned on me that David may have been trying to show me something more, in fair return for my unmerciful wrassling holds from the days before boot camp, when I was tougher than him.


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2 comments:

Pam said...

I thinks your brother ought to pig tie you with his pinky finger and do one of those dripping spits that one sucks up just before it touches the target -- who is of course your adoring sibling that only want your affections!

jbanholzer said...

The sketching at the top of the post was drawn by a talented young lady in the Northern Virginia area around 1983 or 84.

I think that the artist truly captured the essence of David's Soul at the time of this painting.

When David stood next to the completed artwork it was quite stunning. It was as if in some way the drawing was even more alive than David.

Mom of course did not love the drawing. Probably because it was too real. The drawing seemed to have been plucked out of a dimension larger than life.