It isn’t like we weren’t close at one time. We were. My brother Brad and I did everything together. I guess time changes things and sometimes when you grow up, you grow apart. At least that’s the only thing I could figure out. The good ol’ days of childhood were a distant memory.
It seemed awkward on the day we spent together at our familiar stomping grounds, the resort that became our second home so long ago.
“Wanna play some putt-putt?” I asked.
Brad shrugged. “I guess so.”
After two rounds in which my ball decided to take multiple swims, then being defeated in five games of ping-pong, and my athletic abilities showing out in tennis where I didn’t return a single ball, I started to wish for the day to end.
A spark of our special friendship nearly ignited with a furious card game we had played more than a thousand times as kids– “Speed”. However, my victory in the game did little to re-kindle the fire.
Shuffleboard disks and sticks in hand, we tromped over the pine needles to the faded blue concrete, the numbers barely readable.
By this point, I had had it. I was tired, hungry and sick of feeling as if he'd rather be with someone else. No bridge could be built over the gorge that had formed between us.
We shoved the disks back and forth. Brad soon took the lead by double digits. My game remained its usual mess. For every ten points I scored, twenty would be deducted. With his score rising and mine falling from sight, I knew humor would be the only way to save my attitude and prevent an explosion.
“Grrr, Tiggers don’t like shuffleboard,” I said.
I had no idea why that particular statement bubbled out, and personally, I didn’t think it to be very funny.
From the look my brother gave me, I wondered if the reason for his distance was he considered me certifiably crazy.
Then Brad chuckled. Before long, he bent over double in laughter.
Brad spent the rest of the game pointing out my mistakes and showing me how to hold my shuffleboard stick properly. My score began to rise with my spirits.
Everything about the day changed after my impersonation of our favorite childhood “Winnie-the-Pooh” character. And with my talent in sports, I had plenty of opportunities to say it again. This time I tried to choose the perfect moment…
“Grrr, Tiggers don’t like volleyball,” when the ball bounced off my head.
“Grrr, Tiggers don’t like shooting pool,” when the cue stick slipped from my fingers.
“Grrr, Tiggers don’t like archery,” when my last arrow fell short of the target.
Brad cracked up laughing every time I used the silly phrase. I still didn’t see the great humor in it, but after the day ended, I loved the warm fuzzies I felt when my brother repeated the story to others. The simple phrase created a connection between us that had been lost for so long.
And that’s what Tiggers do the best.
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