My little brother, Tommy, and I were born only 17 months apart and were constantly bickering for Mom’s and Dad’s attention.  We fought like cats and dogs.  We fought over everything!  We bickered constantly! 

One evening when I was about to enter high school for my freshman year we had just returned from the county fair and decided to ride bikes with the kids on the other side of the hill, the Judges.  They were younger than us, but when you live in the country in WV you take playmates where you can get them. 

I had a little friend on the back of my bike and was pedaling him around the road when Tommy decided to have some fun and swerve toward me to scare me.  It worked as I almost wrecked and sent the little friend flying.  It also really #&$$#@ me off!  I thought I would show him! 

I dropped off my friend and pedaled to the top of the hill and then turned around.  It was like one of those scenes in the Bionic Man when he trains his bionic eye on the enemy and then takes off.  And take off I did pedaling with all of my might right at Tommy.  I saw the look on his face, the scramble to get out of my way and I was in heaven!  He was really scared. 

The next thing I remember was the neighbor kids looking down at me and I was laying on the road.  I was also screaming!  Then my Mom is there, the neighbors are there and they are calling an ambulance!  Apparently, to avoid each other we swerved the same way and collided totaling both bikes in the process. 

The ambulance arrived and parked with the exhaust blowing in Tommy’s face.  They loaded us both into the ambulance for the ride to the local hospital.  In the ambulance the paramedics took care of both of us.  I could hear Tommy telling them he was going to be sick and then hearing his call for his cousins Ralph and Roy!  They were doing something to my head and there was a lot of that red stuff on me. 

We arrived at the hospital and had to convince the nurses and doctors that we had only hit each other and not a car.  I guess it looked pretty bad!  The doctor told me he was going to numb my head for the stitches and then shave my hair so they could stitch me up.  “UH, did you say CUT MY HAIR?”  I am going into high school and cannot arrive with a bald spot!  “You are NOT cutting my hair!  Stitch it up the way it is…dirt, road bits, and hair it will be okay!”  “Nurse, can I have a shot of sodium pentathol for her?”  “Cut my hair…take it all off, I don’t care!”  Sodium pentathol is the great equalizer. 

Tommy ended up with six stitches in his brow, and I with a stoved shoulder, a scraped face (one side) and eight stitches on the top of my head.  We were both kept overnight for observation.  Tommy, they thought, might have a concussion as he was unconscious when the paramedics arrived.   My Dad drove in from Maryland to make sure we were going to be okay. 

To this day, I get scared when I get on a bike.  When someone is headed in my direction I can feel my heart pounding.  Now you know why!