I was born long after my siblings. By the time I came into this world, my three older sisters were just starting to explore it. It was 1971 and they were 16, 15 and 13. Can you say, “Hippies”? Good. They had a terrarium in their bedroom and I’m pretty sure they weren’t growing ferns.
Thankfully I had cousins who were older than me, but not so much older that they wouldn’t engage in games of kickball, tag, and my personal favorite…”football, football, who’s got the football?” We made that one up. Don’t ask.
We all gathered together at my Grandma’s house at least three times a week. There were Nerf-basketball tournaments, endless games of Monopoly, and one heck of a lot of laughs. And every single Thursday my Grandma let us order pizza. Need I even say it? Thursdays at Gram’s house were the best.
There were usually seven cousins there on various days throughout the week, but one of us never had to leave when it was time to go home.
My cousin, Kevin, had a form of muscular dystrophy and he lived at my Grandma’s house so she could take care of him while his mom worked. We never really noticed Kevin’s disability. I mean, there was the whole thing about him not walking…but if it weren’t for that, we wouldn’t have been able to have wheelchair races in the backyard.
Kevin was a sports enthusiast like none I have ever known. He knew every player and their stats, on every team, college or professional, in every sport. He also had an incredible sense of humor.
The combination of the two would reveal itself once in a while and he would ask his sister and me to run up the street to a market and buy baseball cards for him. Those were the Pete Rose years, so we made a lot of trips.
We never wanted to go though. So Kevin would bribe us by giving us the bubble gum that came with the cards. When we tired of that, he tried something different.
Knowing how competitive we were, he would tell us that he would time us to see if we could get there and back within 10 minutes. He would start counting backward and we would fly up the street.
It never failed that as we were breathlessly running back in the front door of Gram’s house, baseball cards in hand, he would say, “…three, two…Oh! You guys just made it!” It took us a long time to figure out his scam. We were some smart kids.
Last night when I was tucking my son in bed he asked me to get a toy he had left downstairs. He said, “Let’s see if you can get it in three seconds.”
Now we don’t live in a mansion, but I am also not the Bionic Woman. I replied, “I can’t go downstairs to get your toy and be back up here in three seconds.”
He smiled and said, “Let’s see.”
As I started to descend the steps I heard him say, “Three, two…”. I grabbed his toy, went back upstairs and walked into his room just as he said, “…one. You did it!”
Kevin died in 1991, not long after his 29th birthday. But, darn if he isn’t still scamming me.