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I Love My Family

[center][b]Thanks. I feel lsaer now.[/b][/center]

When I rad this tomorrow I will wince. I am typing it at 70% Magnification because I can't find my glasses. (There's a Catch -22 for you. YOu can't gind your glasses when you can't find your glasses.)

Because I am annoyed and frustrated I'm going to write this anyway. If typos distress you, I'd advise reading it tomorrow, post-wincing-edit. I'm too mad at myself to sleep, but I can't chat with any of you because I couldn't read youe messafes.

My brother, whom I will call Cameron because that's not his name...the single most loving, generous, loyal, devoted, thoughtful, grumpy, grouchy, goofy man I know.

He's always BEEN goofy...when he was just out of high school, and employed as a reporter for the newspaper in our little one-horse town (and the horse reference is foresadowing...), one day he decidedit would be appropriate to turn in his story for that day in a way that made a point. My horse, who was actually half pony and half horse (No, SW, I don't know which half was which and no, I don't know how they did it, either). He was small for me and I was a fourteen year old girl. Cam had just turned 1. Heput on his black cowboy shirt and jeans, cowboy boots, his black Stetson, and got aboard Trigger II did not name him) and roud the four miles into Titusville which now boasts a population of a little over 8000 but then, in its heyday, may have been 10000. His boots rested somewhere between Tribber's belly and the ground.

When, a couple of days later, he finally reached Titusville, he tied Trigger's reins to a parking meter, and went in and got the photographer so he could illustrate his story. "Local Reporter Emulates Pony Express to Get the Word Out."

It was a slow news day. It was always a slow news day in Titusville.

Cam is clever and inventive and, to me, highly amusing. Waitresses in half of western PA and now, doubtless, nearly all of Florida, make the new girl go wait on him,because they know he'll make some wisecrack, not in the least disrespectful, but to everyone but me, a groan-producer.

F'r instance, all of my siblings and I went to the local restaurant, and in the course of things, Cam ordered a slad with 1000 Island Dressing. In a few minutes, the waitress returned withh apologies. "Sir, we're out of 1000 Island Dressing."

Cam grimaced in disappointment and said, "Okay, I'll settle for 999 then."

See what I mean? My younger brother leaned over the table anbd ttold the waitress, "I apologize in advance for anything my family might say. Don't be too hard on themselves. Really, they can't help it."

Onve, on vacation, he found a lost camera with no ID on it.He took it home, developed the film and examinged each shot with a fine-toothed comb and a magnifying glass. He found a picture taken in a kitchen and a post-it note on the fridge that read: "Oil change, Jiffy Lube," with the date and time of the appt and Jiffy Lube's phone number. He called Jiffy Lube and asked them to search their records for the name of the customer who had that appointment, asked JL to call the customer and have the customer call him. A bit later his phone rang, he got the address and shipped their camera home.

When I was almost 22, one evening Cam and I were sitting on our parents' front porch when he looked at me and said, "Haee you ever had a drink?"

I answered in the negative, he said, "That's ridiculous. C'mon. We're going to New York." New York had a drinking age of 18 while PA's was 21.

We took my other brother's Triumph convertible and because Cam had a broken leg, I drove. I also fished trays of drinks all night, a sloe gin fizz or glass of wwater for me, and three or four beers for Cam. On the way home, he sat up on the boot of the convertible and waved his Stetson, hollering "The British are coming, the British are coming" theough the silent after midnight Titusville streets.

Cam was a pretty successful salesman, although why is anybody's guess. He smiles only when there's no way around it, and is given to sayingg things to customers like, "Lokk, Tom, you don't know enough about stereo systems to buy one today. Here's a couple of magazines with articles and here's a web site with a blog about stereo systems. Come back and see me when you're ready." And, almost always,Tom DID come back and see him and buy a stereo system from him.

My favorite Cam story is grotequw and hilarious and if you laugh at it you will feel like a heathen. I laughed myself sick.

After Cam retired and was living in a one-bedroom apartment near Orlando, one of his 'sisters' called. Cam and a group of Pennsylvania ex-pats, now Floridians, had cobbled together a family that stuck closer and tighter than most blood-related families do. Every week, at least once and sometimes twice, they met at a restaurant for "Happy Hour" which was not the drinking binge it sounds was a happy hour because they were all together.

At one such Happy Hour, one of his sisters, whom he had dated back in the old Pennsylvania days, said "Cam,Sharon lost her job,cashed in her retirement and has been living off that but now it's gone and she's getting evicted. Could she sleep on your courch for a week or so?"

Cam, because he IS Cam, said sure.

Sharon and her aged female Corgi moved into Cam's living room.

Almost THREE AND A HALF YEARS LATER, during which time Sharon had made no financial contribution of any sort,had not slept with Cam and spent most of her time drunk on his couch, became ill.

Cam came home one night an Sharon was on the floor beside the couch. Cam helped her up, received a few inebriated answrs to his questions, and when she went to sleep, he went to bed.

In the wee hours he heard her calling and went out to seewhat she needed.What she needed was to go to the bathroom.As he was telling me this story, he reminded me,"Sharon was pretty chunky, i'know," which wasa gross understatement.

She couldntt walk, he couldn't carry her. So pragmatic goal-oeiwnrws Cam Seized her by the ankles and DRAGGEDherh her across the living room, across thethreshold into the short hallway, across asecond threshold into thebathroom. When she was finished, Cam helped her dress, lowered her to a prone position on the floor and dragged her back to the couch.

To this day, when I think about Sharon's head bouncing over the thresholds, I flush with shame and laugh myself silly. It's so awful, isn't it?

The next morning, Cam, who had been placed in an awkward financial position because of supporting Sharon and her Corgi, but DID recognize something needed to be done, called the local ambulance company.

"Look. I was wondering...if I have a housegust who is not relatedt to me in any way, but becomes ill, and I call the ambulance for her, who pays for that?"

The ambulance guy said, "How ill are we talking about?"

Cam said, God love his honest but not particularly sensitive heart said, "Well, last night I had to drag her to the bathroom."

The ambulance guy said, "Sir, what's your address?"

They came and took Sharon to the hospital and three days later she died, of cirrhosis of the liver.

Cam kept her Corgi for the next two years, and then he DID pay to have her put down when it was time.

I don't feel like I tell it as funny as Cam does But he doesn'tMEAN it to be funny.

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