As we go through life we develop many different relationships and if we are lucky we find one really special person who becomes and remains a faithful friend. I have such a friend for whom I am very grateful. On April 3, 1941 a beautiful baby boy was born into this world and he has grown into the hearts and minds of many people since that day.
Shortly after his birth the doctor said to the parents, “there was an accident during the delivery and your son will not develop as quickly as your other children did. He will probably live for about twenty (20) years.” Difficult words for any parents to hear but these parents were able to thank God for giving them another son and they would love and care for him just as they were loving and caring for their other five (5) children.
The first two years of his life were difficult at times especially when the body spasms occurred. I can still see his stiff little body in my mother’s arms as she carried him toward the bathroom telling whoever was near to turn on the water for the bathtub. In those days a child with spasms was placed in a tub of lukewarm water until the spasms ceased. As he grew his developmental skills gradually improved but the one thing I remember most was that he did not crawl on his hands and knees, he crawled on his hands and feet, I can still see him crawling about in this fashion and no matter how many times someone placed him on his knees as soon as they moved away he took off across the floor on his hands and feet. He was such a happy little boy and his smile can still melt your heart.
One of his favorite things to do was ride on the vacuum cleaner whenever someone was sweeping a rug. We had an Electrolux canister on wheels and he would sit on the canister and ride around the house as one of my sister’s or me were cleaning. Another thing he liked to do was find a matchstick, bobby pin or similar object and crawl to the nearest electric socket and stick it into the socket just enough to get shocked and he would giggle when this happened. So one of the jobs of everyone in the family was to keep such objects out of Sam’s reach but he was smart and he would at times search until he found something to his liking then crawl to the nearest electrical outlet; sometimes one of us did not get there first. I have marveled all my life that he was never electrocuted but God had greater plans for his life. I remember Dad placing tape over the outlets all over the house, but Sam succeeded in pulling it off. In those days the caps we have today to cover outlets had not been invented.
Sam my special friend had beautiful blond curls of which my sisters and I were a bit envious since our hair was straight, thin and stringy. He wore glasses and then as now they were smudged with fingerprints, but he never did and still does not notice the smudges very often. As he grew and developed he became the favorite among his classmates at school and the teachers were always so good to him; he still talks about some of them.
For a few years he worked in a Garden Center in the neighborhood removing the tarps from the greenhouses in the mornings and replacing them in the evenings. This was important work to him and he loved his paychecks. When one of his brothers’ or one of his friends went with him to help him he was very strict with them regarding how the tarps were to be removed or replaced and he still talks about the careless manner in which they sometimes would do this. He still gets upset with them when he talks about this. The family who owns the business is among his friends and they ask about Sam and pray for him now that he is not in good health. When he is home they are always so welcoming to him and he enjoys their hugs, friendship and reminiscing.
Today my special friend is sixty-four (64) years old and lives in a Nursing Home a couple of hours from home. I bring him home once a month and we talk on the telephone every other day. He keeps me on my toes and if I do not get something done as quickly as he thinks I should he lets me know. I took him on vacation to Saint Louis recently and he tells everyone who asks about the trip, “we had a blast”. Now he is looking forward to coming home for a nephew’s wedding in August and is already planning for the photos he will take. He has three (3) cameras and I never know which one or ones he will take to a wedding or anywhere else we go. In fact sometimes as we are riding down the highway there will be a sudden flash and I realize he just took a picture of the car in front of us or the sky or nothing! He is sometimes spontaneous!
Several years ago one of the nursing aids at the Nursing Home where he lives talked with him about reading the Bible one Saturday afternoon when he was having a difficult time coping. From that Saturday until she no longer worked at the Home they would read the Bible together each Saturday afternoon for a few minutes each reading a couple of verses at a time and talking about what the words meant to them. That started him in the practice of reading the Bible everyday and for many years he read for long periods of time each day. In fact at last count he had read the entire Bible four times. Now he is becoming forgetful and the Bible and other things are no longer regular practices for him. However I did discover recently that he still remembers some of the things he learned when he decided to be an electronics specialist and studied about repairing radios and televisions. My television went out and he informed me that, “The high voltage circuit has shorted out and the television repair man can fix that”. The television repair man said, “He may be right” and I will find out in couple of days when he calls me to tell me if the television is fixable. The entire family remembers well the period of time when he decided to be a television and radio repairman. Dad let him use the workshop in the basement of our home and it soon was full of radios and televisions laying about the room in many parts and pieces. I remember well the night after I had bought a new large, colored television for our living room and the next morning found some pieces of it where they should not have been, needless to say I was upset but in the end Dad and me had to laugh because he truly did believe that he had fixed it. He still takes radios, disk players and tape players apart to remove the static in them but he is happy and that is what matters.
One of his favorite sayings is, “The Man upstairs is taking care of His buddy”. I am Sam’s legal guardian but sometimes I ask myself, who is the real guardian of this special friend of mine, my brother Sam.
Dear Mary, I so enjoyed reading about your brother Sam, your special friend. God bless your faithful and loving devotion to your brother. You wrote so well and discriptive of his childhood, and his blonde curls and glasses. Thank you for helping all of us meet Sam, a special man. :)