My big brother, Pat, is a lot of fun, but we have always said he was born without those reasoning cells that tell you “someone is going to get hurt if you do this!”  No challenge was too scary, no tree too high, no hill too steep when Pat was involved.  And fear?  Not a factor! 

I believe I mentioned before that we grew up latch key kids.   Mom and Dad both worked so we were left in Pat’s care a lot as Tommy and I were growing up.  Pat was a teenager and Tommy and I little kids.  Pat was left in charge and as such was required to entertain us.

We played a lot of fun games while Pat was in charge.  Games such as high flying circus which entailed jumping off the 2nd story roof of the house onto a pile of mattresses beside the house.  There were 2 box springs and 3 mattresses…TWIN SIZED MATTRESSES!  From the second story they looked like a kitchen rug.  Thank goodness we didn’t miss or break out necks!

We would have dirt clod fights at times.  Pat always found the ones with the rocks in them.  Perhaps he made them ahead of time and stockpiled them.  I would not doubt it. 

There was the winter he decided to tie two sleds onto a 12′ extension ladder and go sleigh riding.  We lived at the top of a large hill and it flew down the hill.  Most of the time it went down sideways!  Did I mention that it had NO BRAKES?  Or that there was a creek at the end of the hill so you had to bail before the water.

He hung a rope swing over a deep ravine and sent his friend out for its maiden voyage.  The swing was hung using two 25 foot chains attached to an aluminum garbage can.  As it swung out it broke and we could hear his friend screaming, trees cracking and then the inevitable thud as he reached the ground about 100 yards into the woods!

The thing that Pat loved the most was tormenting Tommy.  Tommy was the baby of the family and was always getting us into trouble.  He would cry and Mom would smack either Pat or I.  One evening we were watching a horror movie and Pat turned in early.  that was very unlike Pat as he was always up until dawn and slept all day. 

Tommy then decided to turn in and asked Mom to walk him to his room.  Mom refused and sent him up alone.  Next thing we know we hear a blood curdling cream from upstairs in the vicinity of Tommy’s room.  We all fly up the stairs to meet Tommy half way.  He said that the monster had grabbed his foot.  We found out later it was Pat who hid under his bottom bunk and then grabbed his ankle as he got into bed.  Pat played it well, though, in his room faking sleep when we checked.  Tommy slept on the floor of my Mom and Dad’s room for weeks after that incident! 

My big sister, Debbi, was not immune to Pat’s pranks either.  She and her friend were sitting in my Mom’s VW up the road partaking in a habit that gives you the munchies when all of a sudden Debbi saw a ghostly image in the back window.  Pat had snuck up on them and placed a flashlight under his chin and scared the bejesus out of them.  Debbi took off as Pat hung on for dear life banging on the roof and yelling for her to stop.  She refused to stop as the monster was still on the back of the car.

One day Pat suggested that we try to put a stick in the spokes of our moving bicycles.  Each of us took a turn resulting in a minor crash and some blood, but in most cases the stick broke.  Pat then got onto his bike to ride to his friend’s house when I thought I would give it one last try.  It caught in the front spokes and then got caught on the forks of the bike and Pat launched over the handlebars and through the air like Superman.  He then landed face first in the road and if I recall he busted his chin open. 

He also took Mom’s pickup out in the snow to play Dukes of Hazzard.  He lost control of it sliding around a corner, went airborne over a ditch and took out 3 of the neighbors mailboxes.  Tommy and I were along for the ride.  He tried to tell my Mom that he lost control on some ice, but the neighbor ratted him out as he wanted his mailbox repaired.

Thank goodness we all lived!