We went to my in-laws to celebrate the 4th of July this year. It was nice. Shockingly, the kids were all well behaved and there were no big blow ups or big to-dos or anything. There was lots of swimming and eating and drinking and eating and eating…
At one point, when the sun’s bewitching hours were over, and it was comfortable to sit out by the pool with no shade protection, I sat by the hot tub while our little nephews splashed and played. From this position, I had a straight shot view of the room addition my in-laws built years and years ago. I thought back to when Gerald’s twin brother, Kevin, had rented a sander to smooth out the wooden deck. He was showing Gerald how the thing worked. He got it all spinning and let it go. It headed straight for Gerald’s legs. Gerald jumped out of the way and the sander ended up smacking right into the outside door of the room addition, leaving a big dent. “Kevin! You could’ve taken Gerald’s legs off!” (That was me screaming.) Kevin laughed like hell. Oh he had a boisterous, infectious laugh. And I miss it. We all miss it. Well, those of us in the family who knew it and can remember it, anyway. My boys were too young to have the memories stick after Uncle Kevin was gone, and our nephews weren’t even a thought yet in their parents’ minds.
I also remembered it was Kevin who bought the pool table and some of the patio furniture, all still very much used today. He was a very generous person. It wasn’t unusual for him to be bearing gifts of some sort when he came back home after being gone for months on the road. He worked as a long-distance truck driver for many years. If he would see something along the way, and if he thought so-and-so would like whatever it was, he would buy it. He wouldn’t give the expense or maybe any inconvenience, a second thought. One time when his driving route had him passing through home, Gerald and I (luckily) happened to be at the house (Kevin still lived at home with his parents as it didn’t make much sense for him to have his own place since he was gone so much anyway), and Kevin called. He was in Louisiana and was asking if he should pick up some boudin balls while he was there. Hell yes, you should pick up boudin balls! If you’ve never had Louisiana boudin balls, you have no idea what you’re missing. Gerald and I hung out the rest of the evening waiting for Kevin to get to the house and wanting some of those boudin balls! And they were so worth it.
How much I wanted Kevin to be there Saturday. He would leave the funniest messages on our answering machine. How I wish I had kept his last message ten plus years ago, but I had erased it like I do all the listened to messages, not realizing it would be the last time we heard his voice, his funny laugh.
I got up from my spot by the pool and walked under the patio cover. My FIL had gotten out this little travel sized chess set and they were setting up a game. I admired the compact set and my FIL told me Kevin had bought it so the teenage brothers could play chess on the plane back from Scotland one year. How cool was that that I was just thinking about my deceased brother-in-law and then here was another sweet memory that appeared? As much as Kevin was loved and is missed, the family doesn’t spend a lot of time reminiscing about him. I believe it’s too painful. But the 4th of July was one of Kevin’s favorite holidays. He loved to shoot fireworks. And he made it fun, probably because he was having so much fun, you couldn’t help but have fun too. Maybe that’s why his memory seemed to have gotten a “pass” yesterday. Things didn’t get too sad, the mood stayed happy. Just like Kevin would have been if he had been there to share the day with the family.