Ten years ago today, I got a phone call that brought me to my knees.
I don’t know if I have “stood up straight” since, but I am trying.
My baby brother Johnny left this world, but not my memory. Not my heart.
He was born on Valentine’s Day. How appropriate. He was the world’s biggest flirt. He embarrassed us with women from the moment he could talk. He was three years old commenting on panty hose at the beauty shop. You would almost think he was put up to it, until years later when you realized it was just Johnny.
At his funeral, a broken hearted girl came up to me and said Johnny was my first love. Three or four people later was the next first love, and the next, and the next, until the tragic moment was almost comical.
His mother-in-law Mary, finally said out loud, “only Johnny Acker could have this many women in a room crying over him”.
It wasn’t just women, it was teenagers and elderly.
When he pulled up to the house, he did not have to knock. The boys ran to me to announce his arrival. “Uncle Johnny’s here!” (Which really meant- Can we go wherever he is going?)
I let them go, even though I winced. You don’t turn down a babysitter when you have a house full of kids. I am sure that I do not want to know what he allowed them to do. But, I can definitely picture dangerous dares and shenanigans. And, lots of “don’t tell your mother”.
He was the type to pull the mattress off of the bed and let you jump from the couch to the mattress. When the boys were grown, they confessed they broke the couch jumping from the loft. (A loft that he framed for me.)
I am sure, Uncle Johnny would have laughed.
I always wanted him to straighten up and be serious. But, I must admit he was a fun partner in crime.
He would help me pull cabinets off the wall and leave. Jeff would come home and shake his head at my remodel demolition work. I took the blame on my own.
We all need that person in our life. He was and always will be a mess. A fun, shocking, silly mess.
I have no doubt he would be roaring with laughter over S-Town. He would say something that would tick me off and then laugh. You could not stay mad at him.
He would call me “Cheryl Suzette Acker Hallman Dailey Dodson”. You have to smile. It is funny.
I am trying to make the bed with a tray. Picture perfect. Maybe I should just throw the mattress in the floor.
Today, more than ever, I realize that memories are so much better than pictures.
I love and miss you baby brother.
So very thankful for 29 years,