Memoriesby Tyler Woods on Aug. 02, 2013, under Life
I have not written on Retroflection for a while. I have been spending time with my cousin Tom who is dying from cancer. I spend whatever free time I can sitting with him at hospice. I do so because he is not just my cousin, he is my dearest friend, in fact, we were more like twins from a different mother. Of course as he is preparing to leave this planet, I am by his side. What is it you say to someone that you love so much that is dying? Memories I thought and it got me thinking…
I lived on a 40-acre ranch and Tom spent the summers with me. In fact, he spent most school holidays with me and my family out on the ranch. We were inseparable during those vacations. In fact, we hated first day of school because that meant summer fun was over.
As I sit with Tom and he is in and out of consciousness, I tell him stories of us growing up. There is where we both feel safe. Who wouldn’t feel safe with memories of growing up in Tucson? Many of my childhood memories of Tucson and growing up came from my cousin Tom. I keep wondering which story I will tell him next.
I think when I see him tomorrow I will remind him of the super slide off Alvernoon he and I used to ride down during the summer. We would climb those stairs forever and wait for one another and race down side by side. From there my mom would take us to the 22nd Street Drive in and we would eat a picnic dinner and snack while watching a double feature. Often my cousin and I would spend more time at the snack bar just watching people and giggling.
Then I thought, maybe he would like the memories of mom dropping us off at the Buena Vista Theater to catch a double feature and some cartoons. Mom would give us five bucks for the two of us and we were off and running. We would eat Sugar Daddies, Milk Duds and malt balls till we felt like puking. We would be so sugared out by the time my mother came to pick us up. She was often tell us to go outside and run it off and neither one of us had problems with that.
I have shared with him the stories of the tire swings and forts we made on the ranch. How we ate my dad’s MRE’s and how nasty they were, but when we were playing hard in our forts, with our walkie-talkies and homemade slingshots, and we were hungry, they did not taste so bad.
I suppose I should share with him how we never fought much except on Saturdays when they had real cartoons. I loved things like HR Puff and Stuff and Josie and the Pussycats and he liked GI Joe and Scooby Doo. We both agreed on Johnny Quest, The Magilla Gorilla Show, The Jetsons and Flintstones, Top Cat and Tom and Jerry. We would sit in front of the TV drinking Tang and eating dry cereal or chocolate Space Sticks and hoped the morning would never end.
What I want to tell him is to be sure to take those childhood memories with him when he leaves this planet and incorporate them in his next life, because those memories are precious. For me, I know once he is gone, those will be the memories I get to keep to remind me of my cousin, my friend, and what made my childhood so special.