Monday, March 02, 2009

tres desperados

My brother commented on Sunday that my choice of profile photograph was evidence that I am turning into Benjamin Button. He suggested that by April, I would need written permission from our mother to cross the border.

In that spirit, he dug up this old photograph from our family album.

I wish I could say I remember when the photograph was taken. I don't. But I know where it was taken. In Myrtle Point behind our Mercury. Now, that was a car.

The budding James Brother gang members are my cousin, Danny, me, and my younger brother. If you look closely at my brother's right foot, you will see a cast.

And there is a story there. From family legend.

The year was 1953. My parents owned a tire shop in Myrtle Point. My mother was driving a pickup, on an errand to retrieve an air compressor, along a narrow windy road bordering the Coquille River. My brother, then two, was on the floor playing with a flashlight. I was sitting on the seat.

As we were rounding a spot in the road known as Dead Man's Curve (western place names actually mean something), my brother dropped the flashlight on the driver's side of the floor and put his little, innocent hand on the accelerator.

The truck operated exactly as engineered and sped off the road, over a cliff, and lodged in a growth of trees. The truck lodged, along with my mother in the cab. But the air compressor, tires, and two young boys turned into an Isaac Newton experiment.

My brother ended up on some boulders along the side of the river with a broken right leg. I ended up in the river with a fractured skull. The flow of the river was about to pull me away from a rock just as our mechanic, who was following us in his vehicle, grabbed me.

There are tales of younger sons attempting to grab the full family inheritance by bumping off those superior in line. I suspect that none of them began that course of advancement at age two. Richard III was merely a late bloomer.

So, there we are: looking as if we have just driven up in our new car. The three of us, disguised behind wax mustachios and dodgy sombreros.

Each more alive than the other. Always ready to venture into the Unexplored Country, when the time calls.

But not that day.


Calypso said...

I guess this story speaks volumes for car seats and safety belts. Some things have improved.

Anonymous said...

i'm laughing my ass off over this story. great way to start the week. thanks.

Houston, TX

Steve Cotton said...

Calypso -- Maybe, but have you ever seen better disguises?

Charley -- Glad you enjoyed it. It is one of my few childhood stories. Of course, brace yourself now from the stream that wil follow over the new few years.

Babs said...

Good grief - that's even more hair raising then my crashing in an airplane in a gopher field. Glad someone grabbed you!
I still don't get the "photo" thing you and MIguelito are doing....weird to say the least.

Frankly Ronda said...

The picture and story are both entertaining. Thanks for my morning smile.

Steve Cotton said...

Babs -- All change is good,

AMM -- I suspect you may be hearing more of my benighted youth. Your stories have inspired me.

GlorV1 said...

Old photos are so great. I'm glad that skull fracture didn't cause memory loss or something else like someone else said "benjamin button." Oh everything is just fine, just fine. :)

Steve Cotton said...

Gloria -- Who says I have no memory loss -- of course, I can't rember.