As you know, I had many brothers, each one special. If they didn’t start out special, well, they worked on it.
Max was just a regular little guy until that day when he and others were riding home in the pickup truck.
It was a beautiful day and they had been working. Now they were enjoying the opportunity to relax.
Well, Max decided that he wanted an apple and knew Daddy wouldn’t stop the truck for him to run up in the orchard.
So he decided he would just jump and grab one when they passed right under the hanging branches of that one big tree.
And so he did. However by the time his feet got back to the place where they should have landed, the truck had moved on. He hit the road head-first!
The boys in the back of the truck screamed, and Daddy stopped the truck.
There he lay in the road — looking dead. They tried to rouse him, but could not.
They put him in the back of the truck and sped on to the house. The kids ran in and told Mom what had happened. I was only about 7, but remember my mother running down the walk toward the truck, trying to get her shoe on.
Late that night, they brought him home and put him in a bed in the big living room. He had a bandage around his head and they said his skull had been fractured. There was nothing the doctors could do for him.
It was hard for me, in my backward little mind, to understand this.
They explained what a fractured skull was and why he just laid there, not moving — like he was asleep, all of the time.
But my mother believed in prayer, and I am sure that she prayed unceasingly.
In spite of the doctors’ prognosis, he rallied, then got better enough to be out of bed. He became a whole person again and, surprisingly, he began to grow.
BY the time he was 16 he was over six feet tall and strong.
About that time he went to work with Daddy, tearing down houses on Columbia Street. Much of the materials from those houses were incorporated into this house.
Among the materials hauled out here to be used were stones — large stones; some very large stones.
And Max knew exactly what to do with them. He built steps to the front porch. Stone steps with stone side pieces! And there they stood, for more than 50 years.
In that length of time, how many kids do you reckon played on those steps? My children and the children of my brothers, including Max and he had six. As well as their friends.
A younger brother devised a game called “School” specifically for those front steps.
You picked a closed hand and if that hand contained (whatever), then you answered a question. If you answered the question right, you got to move up one step, or grade.
But the day came when those steps were pulling the porch away from the house and they had to come down. Well, let me tell you that was a job. It took three men to move some of those stones.
But they were not discarded (How could you?) but were worked into the patio behind the house.
The patio is outside the library window. There are many who now claim that they cannot envision this house without those steps.
But I like the patio and sometimes have lunch there, or maybe breakfast.
Loretta Nazelrod Brown is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears every other Sunday in the Times-News.