Friday, June 4, 2021

You can call me kitty kitty

 I've always been impressed by people who walk to a different drummer and dare to go out of the norm. I am ambivalent about the fact that I am the person who seeks to blend into the crowd. My older brother would take them on. I grew up in a family that could easily stand out and then there was me, my mother, my sisters and one of my brothers who only wanted to blend in. We were all utter failures to conform in our own way. My dad was born to not give a damn and was a social butterfly.

The funniest thing my dad did was he and my uncle went to a wedding together. Both men liked to talk and go to a party. 

My older brother had great social skills that I did not recognize until I was older. We had a good family but we had our struggles. One thing that happened to my brother and I is we had to enter the world at an earlier age and become independent. Both of us relied on our wits. 

For me it was going to college which at that time you could work and pay for most. Several of us would live in an apartment to save money. I lived in a run down trailer one year and it was incredibly cheap. The fashion at the time was "hippie", so a pair of jeans or three and a selection of tops was all I needed. I'm glad I did not come of age in the sixties. It would have been a choice of fashion or college.

My brother got the poor man's college. He joined the Army and made a tour of Vietnam and came back very troubled. He drank heavily most of his life. Besides being a helicopter mechanic, he was a doorgunner for the helicopter. Vietnam was the frat party from hell. I wanted him to write a book. He didn't want to write a book. In many ways, my brother was my best friend in life. I had thought as we got older, I would get the stories out of him and write them down. As I go through his paperwork, I can't help but notice he had the same family traits as all of us. 

But my brother had the guts to be himself. Me I have conformed. I think of hilarious things to say and strange things invoke a humor in me that I don't share. My brother would let it rip. When leaving the hospital after losing part of a foot about a year before he passed, the nurses gave the biggest smiles when he was leaving. He had entertained in a cantankerous funny way during his stay. One night he had a pizza delivered.

I remember at the first hospital, two young nurses were constantly checking on him because they loved the banter. I told him to watch his salty language. The young gals turned and looked at me and said they could handle it. They were enjoying the entertainment. I can imagine them sitting at the dinner table with their parents. They were that young. 

What has made me considered to walk to a different drummer is that I am not a follower nor a leader. I got my independence very early in life like 4 years old. We had a neighbor that had a past. My father had lived in the same boarding house as her. To protect her virtuous reputation, she spread stories about my family. One was that we were part black and I was the proof. I suspect it was a power trip as well for her. As a consequence, I have always been suspect when someone cautions me about an individual. In my mind, I feel the tick tock what is it for you to control how I feel. 

I thought this had something to do with the fact that I do not have racist tendencies. In living with my mother, I now recognize my parents were not racist. My mother is very open minded and recognizes how badly black people were treated. Looking back at my family, I remember how sad my parents were when Martin Luther King was assassinated. I remember my dad saying he was a good guy. It would be much harder for race relations without him. I also remember what my dad said when I told him what the neighbor was saying. He would not even look up from his reading and said he liked black people. It was OK with him. 

My contention with organized religion I think is genetic from my father's side. My dad is mostly Scottish with a bit of Welsh and English thrown in along with an errant Viking. I have recognized that my doubt of God was more from an anger at people using religion for their advantage. Even today, I feel disgust with television preachers who collect enormous sums from people who have very little. A lot of our social connections in the South are connected to our churches.  

I would go to church. But, I struggle with not having enough time as it is. I'm a moving target anyway. Most of the time I am busy working and not thinking of anything really. I get my best ideas mowing grass for some reason. I have wondered if it is not like meditation and perhaps the angels can get my attention more easily.

Anyway, I was a lucky person to know my brother. I would say Rest in Peace; but, I think he is in heaven. 


  1. A much younger version of me wrote a poem which included the 'deathless words,
    My drummer is not your drummer - but still his beat is real.'
    Which is probably true, but when I can I much prefer to fly under the radar. Then and now.
    How lovely to have a brother that you are pleased to have known. A fine tribute indeed.

    1. The post was supposed to be about some of the interesting art projects some people create in their yard. We are a quirky group of people where I live. I'll have to get to those and post. I was very close to this brother and his memory stays close.
      I like your poem. It's tough being deep when you are young. You grow older and try to be as shallow as you can. lol

  2. Judging by the picture, your brother was a nice-looking, smiling fellow. RIP.
    I like the expressions: " to blend into the crowd", and 'I'm not a follower nor a leader". Yes, I am like that too.
    I believe in God, and pray to Him, but I keep away from organized religion. Too many people are using God and religion to their advantage.

  3. We have very similar outlooks from what I have read of your blog.

    We have a quote which says some people will beat you to death with the Bible to get what they want. I guess it is as old as time.

  4. Ann, I loved reading this. It says so much about you and your family. Your brother has a brilliant smile. No doubt he didn't find too much to smile about in Vietnam. What a gruesome war!
    I was intrigued that you're neither a follower or leader. Never thought about that before. What does that make you then?
    So many people have no problem believing in God, but they have a hard time believing in the church. Sad...

    1. The people that came to North America were religious fanatics, prisoners, malcontents, adventurers and the poor. Each has had it's influence and we have a multitude of denominations. Where my mother grew up in Appalachia, people would go down the road and build another church when they began to disagree with their church. Well that is the tale.
      Thanks for visiting Denise.

  5. An interesting reflection on your relationship with your brother. I've never had a close relationship with my sister, not sure why. I think we drifted apart when I was away at boarding school for five years.

    1. My brother and I would have probably continued to move apart except for a twist of fate. He was laid off from a job and his second wife kicked him out of the house. He needed a place to stay and he moved to the Atlanta area and stayed with me. I was about 35 and he 40 at the time. He was employed within a day of coming. And remarried about 5 years later. Anyway from that point on we kept in contact and talked a lot.

  6. Your brother sounds like a character and is probably keeping the angels entertained.
    I lived all over the world growing up so I was exposed to a lot of different people.

    1. And the whole world came to the little Air Force town I grew up in which still pales from being able to live in different places. My brother was a character, a good character. I figured the person who wrote Uncle Buck had a brother like mine.

  7. Enjoyed finding out more about you. I worked with (and later, for) a Vietnam Vet (two tours) for some 10 1/2 years. He left the company. It was 24 years before we met again. A few weeks ago, I ran into him while walking in what turned out to be the neighborhood where he lives. He was and is an interesting man. Having a character as a brother? I'm an only child and quite introverted; I think for me it would have worked out well. Alana

  8. He sure sounds like a character indeed. Weird how some people start rumors. I just do what I want how I want at me sea. Doesn't bother me.

  9. ...I've always been a fish swimming in the opposite direction.

  10. reading you is purely therapeutic dear Ann !

    your brother seems a unique person .i am glad you had him in life then and in your memories forever !

    i have always suffered with absence of this one of the most precious relationship in my life ,i lost my wonderful elder brother when i was little and one i had left was not blessed with such sensitivity and kindness that this relationship demands .

    just like you i am not follower nor leader just independent being who follows it's own instincts .
    i am touched with your deep perception of life and honesty to share it with us .
    stay safe and healthy !

  11. Thank you so much for your visit and comment, Ann. Thank you also for this post for it introduced me to you as a friend. Your brother sounded like a very special person. By the way, once a teacher, always a teacher. 😁


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