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Here is my brother Scott and I. My mother gave me the photo, perhaps because I’m the oldest, but I don’t have any children so I’ve given it to Scott to pass along. It will go a lot farther into the future in his hands. My brother, if you look closely, is about to scream. The photographer terrified him. He was given the duck to take his mind off what was happening, but honestly just about anything made my brother scream. He was afraid of Percy Platypus, a puppet on Saturday morning on Channel 8, and he would scream when I pressed his hand against the television screen. I asked Scott not so long ago to forgive me, but he didn’t remember any of it; he didn’t remember me exchanging my nickels for his dimes (nickels were bigger); he didn’t remember when I took the bulb out of the lamp and told him to stick his finger in the socket. There was nothing to forgive on his part so I had to forgive myself. My mother used to say that “Scott screamed from the center of his being.” Scott panicked when she wasn’t in sight; he was always hanging around her. Fact: she spanked Scott more than she spanked me. Me, I was happy to be alone listening to records, playing with my toys; I had plenty to do. And I was always ready to go and stay overnight anywhere: with my grandparents, with Aunt Louise, with Aunt Cookie. Not Scott though. Once around the time this photo was taken, my mother and I had a falling out, and I packed my little suitcase, I was leaving home. My mother helped me pack, if I remember correctly, a suitcase full of toys. I got it to the highway, looked both ways—we lived two miles from anybody on top of a mountain—and realized I had no where to go and began to cry as my mother with arms akimbo on the porch laughed and smiled. Well, I’d get her back plenty later on. It’s said we repeat what is done to us, but Scott vowed he wouldn’t hit his kids like his mother hit him, and that is exactly what he did. Scott proves there are exceptions to the rule. Our poor parents: they had the Great Depression, then they had WW II, and then they had us. My brother Scott no longer screams; but as a member of the NRA he often has a gun. He is a hunter, not a killer though. Once walking in the woods, a rattlesnake struck at him, but didn’t bite, just bumped against him. He pushed the underbrush aside with his walking stick to watch it rattle, but he didn’t kill it—just looked at it for a little bit. Rattlesnakes don’t want to put their venom in us. They know we are too big to eat, why waste the ammunition? They most often bluff, and menace for us to move on. Which Scott politely did. He was after all the guest.

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