I miss my brother.
The story, the way I remember it, happened 24 years ago today.
It was in Wisconsin, and the weather was unseasonably warm. The sun was out and it was a perfect Saturday. Jay was 17 and ready to graduate from high school, and his friend Rob of only 14 was with him, working on bikes in the garage. Jay was in and out of the house, from what I have heard, talking to mom about what they were doing, being "underfoot" if you will.
Right before lunch, I think, Stewart came over. He had a car, and wanted Jay and Rob to go for a ride with him. Apparently a whole big bunch of kids were meeting near a lake to enjoy the afternoon. Jay came in, told mom he was going, and they went off.
Well now, Stewart was only 16. He was going away to a distant school the very next week, and had been grounded for quite some time due to his behavior. This was his last hurrah.
Apparently, I say again, on the way to the picnic, Stewart was driving FAST down a two lane road. He came around a corner, up a hill to an intersection, forgot there was a stop sign, and drove right through it.
Underneath the 18 wheeler that was driving through first.
The truck caught fire and collapsed on the car.
We lost all three of them.
* * *
Jay was the artist in the family. None of us could paint anything other than the house or the walls - but Jay had some amazing miraculous talent for real fine art. He drew astounding works with #2 pencils. He was mentored by art teachers because of his abilities, and grew in using watercolors and acrylics and oils. He was a fine young man and a sensitive soul. He was teenage trouble enough, but he also loved little children and used to babysit for mom's friends. He loved loud music and big dogs, and riding his bike. He could jump that bike higher than daddy's head. He was strong and loved my sister and me to distraction.
He gave the gift of his artistic eye to my son, and the gift of his artistic sensibilities to my daughter.
I thank you every day Jay. And I miss you.