Friday, February 15, 2013

Dear Joe

I sit here contemplating a letter to one of my brothers.
He appears to have gotten himself incarcerated and it's mostly out of stupidity. Sometimes people just don't know when silence is the best choice. Regardless of the reasons he felt and the emotions involved with his outburst with his empty threats, he will be made an example of.
Writing a letter to him, I'm stalled on what to say. Recriminations are not necessary. I'm sure that after months of having "alone" time sitting there in his cell, the wind has left his sails.
I reel back through the years to when we were children sharing the same house. Seven children and seven personalities and parents that seldom hid any strife amongst themselves from these children.
I'm older and wiser and have seen some wonderful examples of parenting and those lessons involved no violence. Children are dealt with firmly and consistently. The consistency in child rearing is the key along with spending time and listening to them.
I'm not saying I did it right either. We are a product of our upbringing but everyone is capable of learning. It just takes the "want and the will".
Joe left home early to earn an income. He was always generous with his money when he came home to visit knowing how scarce it was in our household. He can't be described as "slick" or 'classy' but he is genuine. I've never known him to intentionally hurt anyone; he can always be called upon to help someone in distress. This is how I know him.
To the public he is a junk collector, living in a home and on land that is unkempt, junked up and a far cry from anything resembling a sanitary area. I don't understand this as he was raised in a clean home where the floors were swept and mopped daily, meals served on a long table where the family gathered for their three meals a day. A long bench sat on one side of the table and the four youngest occupied it while the other three children sat on chairs along the opposite side with Dad at the head of the table and my mother opposite. We ate what was served; no special orders allowed or even considered.

If you stood on the front porch and looked into the living room and on into the kitchen, the linoleum floor clean and with a fresh shine on from the liquid wax, was marred with the edges of the boards beneath that had warped with age. I shall never forget those blue roses adorning the wallpaper that covered all four walls in that small living room. A nylon sofa, rigid and uncomfortable stood along one wall, mismatched lamps, and green fiberglass curtains made up the remaining decor of the room. On the wall closest to front door, an iron stove commanded a space. This was our only source of heat during the winter months. We would rush downstairs in the winter months to huddle back turned to that stove. As one, we all did an about face to warm the other side. Everyone dressed quickly during those months. Joe is in those memories.
Joe worked alongside our father be it chopping wood, cutting tobacco, or care of the animals and the crops. Joe wasn't shy of work. He was never cruel or mean to his siblings. He was busy and out of the house was where he preferred to be.
The family split up when I was about 15yrs old. Joe would have been 19. He went into construction work, following in Dad's footsteps. When he would come home for the weekends, we younger ones would raid his "card/poker money change" and his cooler which was always full of pop. He never complained. If Joe had money he was quick to share with his younger siblings. We "borrowed" his car and used all his gas. Never a complaint.
The years passed, we all moved in our separate directions and I left the east to travel the west.
I have been gone for many years and though an occasional phone conversation with him or a quick visit when I made the drive back into WV from wherever in the USA I was living, I would try to touch base with him. He was always happy to see any of his brothers and sisters. Joe is loyal. He may be a lot of other things to other people but to family he does have special feelings.
I'm saddened to know that he is living in a cell awaiting a trial some day soon.
Here's to you brother Joe; my best wishes and hopes that someone sees the good in you; the kind person you really are and things go a little lightly for you.

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