Today, we're all Spaniards!
If he'd survived his last bout with illness, my brother would have turned 61 this year. We lost him back in 1999, to renal failure. His medical story was long and complicated, and his early death left us saddened and confused.
He introduced me to several hobbies during our brief time together, and one of them was miniatures gaming. Thanks to him, I boasted the largest collection of toy soldiers on the block. While we played many different types of games together, including board games, shooting rubber bands at toy soldiers was one of our greatest pleasures.
Of late, I've taken to reminiscing about my brother, and chuckling about the times we'd spent together. He was, like many of your own siblings, quite a character. He was the kind of guy I would have been proud to introduce to some of the people on this board. So, as I'm putting together a series of memoirs - preserving anecdotes for our family history, I thought I'd share this one story with my friends here. It epitomizes, I think, the relationship some of us had with our older siblings. They were kooky, sometimes annoying, but always memorable.
Remembering the Alamo, Poorly
My brother set up the Lincoln logs, forming a large multi story building. He called it the Alamo. Inside, he carefully placed various plastic soldiers, their weapons pointing out the windows.
“You get to play the Mexicans.” He said, dumping a bucket of soldiers on the floor. “Set them all up.”
“In the open?”
“Yeah – can’t hide behind anything. Wouldn’t be historical.”
“Seems kinda dumb.”
“You saw the movie, didn’t you?” He barked.
I hesitated, recalling images of John Wayne in a coonskin cap, and the walls of Mission San Antonio de Valero.
“I remember.” I replied.
“Then that settles it, set up your men.”
I dutifully complied. While setting up my troops, careful to space them evenly, my brother began knotting together some rubber bands. He linked them into a long chain, one after another. When finished, he set his handiwork aside.
“You can shoot first.” He offered, proud of his generosity.
He tossed a couple of small rubber bands my way. They were about one inch in diameter. I plinked away at his wooden fortress for a few seconds, but failed to score any hits. Just unlucky, I guess.
“Now, my turn.” He said, pulling his series of bands taut.
Before I could protest, he fired. His shot cleared the floor of at least 10 of my guys. Many of them scattered across the room, and under the bed.
“That’s not fair!” I protested. “How come I have to use small rubber bands, and you get to use a big one?”
“Hey,” he replied, giving me a shove, “You get to shoot three times, and I only get one. Does that seem fair to you? I’m letting you play the Mexicans because you’re my brother. I don’t want to take advantage of you.”
“You’re cheating! Your guys get to hide in the house, and mine are all out in the open!”
“That’s how the real fight was.” He retorted. “We gotta play it like it really happened.”
Predictably, the stalwart Texans managed to defend the Alamo, and my brother vanquished the Mexican army. I caused only one casualty on his side.
“I don’t believe it.” He exclaimed, shaking his head.
“Only you could lose as the Mexicans.” He said. “Too bad you weren’t in Texas that day.”
“Play me again,” I challenged, “and we’ll switch sides!”
“Are you kidding? After that humiliating defeat? Nah – I gotta go do some stuff. Maybe some other time.”
As he stood up to leave, he tossed one last comment over his shoulder.
“Loser cleans up.” He said, closing the door behind him.
I packed my soldiers up first, then began to dismantle my brother’s fortress. As I worked, I discovered his men were wedged in tight — they couldn’t move without first taking down the walls. In essence, even a direct hit wouldn’t have knocked one over.
As usual, by the time I realized he’d cheated, he was long gone. It was the last miniatures game we played together.
Rest in peace buddy — you were the best brother a guy could ever have.
- Last edited Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:03 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:02 am
I lost my brother when I was 15 years old, he was 17. That was 20 years ago at the start of this month.
I still miss him every day.
Thanks for bringing a smile to my face with your story.