I had the opportunity to offer a little brotherly love to someone (we actually had two ’5th Brother’s) who is facing the rough ride to the end for a mother with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Just throwing a couple significant texts counted, but the difference between that and two of my real brothers and I driving to Tampa for a week of vacation at my Mom’s/her surprise 80th is as different as it gets. It reminds me how grateful our family felt last year, when my Dad died from congestive heart, because there was minimal pain; in on Sunday, I was of service on Monday, the end was Tuesday.
I got out to shoot some hoops yesterday, the first of what will be be 11 days away from BPBPJ (bill paying, benefit providing job) in retail, and it was gloriously warm. There was a guy shooting at the other end of a neat little pocket park on Craig St., and as I’ve told a lot of people, these are the easiest double rims in Charlotte– most doubles are a little ‘hot’, and turn many good shots into ‘shoulda had’ misses. Not here though, it can stay on the rim and wind up in. It’s a convenient zip up the street, and the nets are high quality, and yeah, that counts even more than having the 3-arc well-marked.
‘The O’ was always about cranking it from long range in our back yard, like barely in front of the birch trees on the extended pad side, or one step in bounds from taking it out kind of bombs, where people GAVE you the shot and looked for a rebound. Actually, shooting from that side allowed taking advantage of what a good ‘home court rim/backboard’ can do for you: the bank shot didn’t have to be perfect to score. If he ever threw a fake on you and got even a three-foot closer clear shot, you were in for a *whole* lot of crapola from anyone present; Dave wasn’t exactly tall or swift, so mostly he’d shoot threes. He also got the Norm-treatment like in ‘Cheers’: “Oh no, It’s the Big O!” which for sake of accuracy, is for Ornston, and the sound of his echoed dribbling up the street like clockwork at 5:35, because that was when Shorkey dinner was generally over and the basketball court reopened, is a part of my growing up.
Dave’s Mom, Lillian, and mine were great friends for many years, garage sales, coffee, just talking in the street. First time I saw Dave he was riding a bike half-way up the block while she watched him from the front porch, and I got better at tennis because it seemed his Dad’s, Bud, help and lessons meant he’d keep beating me if I didn’t. While Dave had a rim at his house, we played more Risk and chess there– with four boys, we had the largest court and highest probability of getting a game, at least one-on-one.
One thing I’ve never forgotten is how both his Mom and Dad kissed him on the head whenever he was leaving the house. I don’t know if that’s Jewish custom or just Mom/Dad affection, but I reminded The O to get one of those kisses soon, because it doesn’t have to be the last kiss that you’ll go forward with and remember.
I’ve also decided to accept that I am now a full-time set shooter– the guy with the long J is done. I’m expecting we’ll day trip to see him next week, maybe we’ll even find a court. ‘The O’ took a train across Florida for the sake of paying respects after my Dad’s passing last year– that’s what having extra brothers is about.