For me, looking back, thinking abut my exquisite and tragic past is one of the hardest things. For those of you who don’t know me, here’s a brief retrospect. My dad and brother died when I was sixteen. My mom committed suicide ten years later. That left me and my oldest brother, Granger. He died a year and a half ago. So here I am, a zebra without a herd.
Since then, God has given me the most extraordinary children, family, extended family, husband and friends. I think he kind of owed me; but that’s between me and God.
This Thanksgiving is tough for some reason.There are lots of wonderful people in the house but I’m thinking about my Granger. I’m listening to Johnny Cash as I make corn bread stuffing and I’m wishing he would call me to talk about the NFL.
Granger thought of himself as a Poncho and Lefty kind of guy, maybe Folsom Prison Blues. But for me Granger’s song is The Highwaymen. He was Chris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash. He was a gift that lives forever, comes back and helps us, he is a part of the universe, the heavens and the earth.
Granger is everything for me right now and I would give ten years of my life for a few minutes with him. He was the beautiful, handsome bad boy, the heart breaker hero and I miss him so much because we were zebras from the same herd.
The family story goes like this. When I was born my brother Jack was 8 and Granger was 11. They brought me home from the hospital while the boys were playing catch in the yard. When my dad called them in they weren’t interested in looking at me. Finally, my Grandmother, Bubba, offered them a quarter each to look at me. Jack said, “She’s pretty cute.” and Granger said, “She’s ok. Come on let’s go.”
Now when I think about Granger, who died 15 months ago, I realize, he is the mist a pilot whale exhales into the black night air, the exhaust on the interstate and the fog hanging over the Everglades. Granger is a Hot Wheel streaking down an orange track on Christmas morning and , clean socks, and strong coffee. He is a Cuban pork sandwich in a little shop in Islamorado, a blues riff floating up Beale Street and the perfect three pointer in a college basket ball game. Granger is a hail Mary pass as the crowd holds their breath, he is a cheerleader calling the Hogs at an Arkansas Razorback football game. He is the coral reef off Key West. He is an elegant sentence in a trashy novel, a dancing old lady and a group of school kids saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
Granger is all I breath and see and hear and miss. He is the stuff that keeps my heart beating when I don’t think I can take another breath. And I will love and miss him forever.
Granger was my brother. He was a foundation in my life since the day I was born. I can only imagine but never understand the pain and pride his daughters feel.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and a thousand times, I will give thanks for my brother Granger.
Love your family while you can.