Home is different to everyone. To me its a place I want to feel safe, warm, and loved, a place to fall, wrapped in a metaphorical hug. Home doesn’t always have to be made of brick, wood or concrete.
I remember my dad having two emoji’s tattooed on his chest. One was a smiley face with “Sweet” above it and one was a frowning face with “Sour” above it. When I asked what they were, of course, a child of seven I believed everything my dad said was true. He told me that the unhappy sour face was my brother Bill Jr. and the happy sweet face was my brother Sam.
How my dad knew back then that brother Sam was the happy sweet face was beyond me. He would be from then on my HOME, the safe, warm, loving place that I could fall. One afternoon, I laid crying on my bed, after our dad died in a horrific car accident, it was Sam that came to sit by me with comfort and strength. Even though he was hurting inside as well he hugged me until I calmed, we sat there talking and reminiscing about our dads’ skills and talents, keeping him alive as long as we could.
When Sam left to go off to the Navy, it was a sad day for me but the best thing he could have done for himself. He wouldn’t be there to help protect me and our little sister Charlotte. He took a lot of the heat for mistakes done wrong. He gave me the lawn mowing job for an elderly lady down the road and the keys to his Chevelle (even though I never got a chance to drive it). He dedicatedly wrote to me for the four years he was in the service. He checked in on his sisters and sent us money every so often, told me about his adventures and mess hall tragedies. The first time he came home and he surrounded his cup and plate with one arm and fork in another and engulfed his meal, I had to ask if he was really hungry. He told me these are the tragedies of the mess hall I told you about, if you don’t hold to your meal and eat fast you could be chasing your plate from one end of the table to the other. He further explained the natural rocking of the ship and the ocean makes the plates go from end to end. I laughed, I could image now what it was like when he was trying to explain it in those letters.
I drove out to Oklahoma during my senior year of high school to see him and brother Bill. Best two weeks of my 18 years. We have had good and bad times, disagreements and times of silence. He’s been here, there and all around but now he calls home in the bluegrass of Kentucky. I’ve visited him there several times and he comes here to New York to visit too.
I am thankful that when he was 7 and was diagnosed with a deadly virus that he wasn’t claimed as another angel that GOD decided to leave him here for me. Now that big brother and little sister have passed away, he and I are the only two left of mom and dad’s original four “Grant’s”.
I couldn’t ask for a better big brother. Thank you for always being there for me, having my back and a soft place to fall. Samuel Harold Grant.