Saturday, January 17, 2015

On Memories - Bull Art

Memories of Big Bro -  Something I wrote last Spring . I just wanted to share again as I look out my window at a wind chime as I  finish the last 10-12 chapters of the second book, of which my brother is an integral part.

When I arrived at Dad's for one of my trips out there early last Spring.   Big Bro took me out to Dad's porch, where there was the melodious tinkling of a wind chime, something Dad and I both love.   But this wasn't the usual cutesy "picked up at a beach gift shop" wind chime.  This was something Big Bro made while he was going through chemo.  He had chemo and radiation at the same time.  With the cancer at Stage Four, it was pretty aggressive. Needless to say, he didn't feel exactly perky.

But like me, he doesn't sit still well.  So, on the days he was well enough to get out, he'd pick up pieces of wood and what not, to add to his collection of things picked up from the beach.  And when he was too weak to walk, he made Bull Art. In the form of wind chimes, for family, for friends.
Bull is his nickname (as well as "the Right Reverand" for his buddies on one submarine).  He's not "artistic", playing normally with things nuclear.  But he still has his goofy side, as do I, signing notes with his little "smiley bull" symbol".
It shows up everywhere, even on a low carb snack he made for someone up at weird hours.

So I simply smiled when I saw his creations, the one pictured, a simple one he made for Dad for an anniversary of sorts. 
The sand dollar brought a knowing glance, as we picked up so many as children, when we'd vacation on the coast each year in a tiny little cabin Dad and Mom rented.  It's all condominiums now, but those were some great memories.  From the looks of this one, it's one we picked up 40 some years ago, that now lay in assorted bowls in all of our homes.
That's my bedroom window there on the left.  I laid awake at odd hours this week, due to the jet lag.  But as I lay quietly, the rest of the house asleep, I loved hearing the sound of that copper tubing, string and ancient wood. I loved seeing it, there on the deck where we could have coffee before Dad woke up.

You see a wind chime, made of rough materials.  I see a symbol; of finding beauty in the face of that which severs one abruptly from the life they knew and did not wish to discard, into a medium we are born to fear, where even our identity can be lost, as hair and flesh fall away. I hear the sound of that which will never be forgotten.  Memory. Family.  Hope.


  1. My brother used to call me, say "What's up pup?" and hang up. As I walked away the phone would ring again and he would say "How far did you get before the phone rang?" When we dropped in at each other's homes and no one was there, we each would gather up odds and ends and stack them carefully in the middle of each other's kitchen tables like Jinga. No note was ever needed.

    I still have a paper napkin in my bible where he once scribbled: "love you sis." and taped it to my windshield - with duct tape.

  2. Merle - indeedd

    lotta joy - There are times it's really hard, I do miss him so, and the last few months, crafting another book with more stories of him, raises it all up again. But I am glad I have the stories. Duct tape. Your brother would like that.

  3. Sometimes the littlest of things can trigger great memories.

  4. I like best wind chimes with memories and handmade. Good story.


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