Freedom of Speech by Norman RockwellMy brother Stan and I went to many different schools. I was the 'new kid' at 12 different schools, my brother a few more. Plus as preacher’s kids, whose father was always trying to help new or struggling rural churches, we went to countless different churches. Both of us were scrawny and lanky, dressed as only devoted fundamentalist Baptist parents dressed their kids in the 70’s; all the bullies came out to be our welcoming committee. But they had to go through my big brother first.

In the tradition of big brothers, he was the only one that could beat me up. What none of these bullies knew until it was too late: Stan had seen this all before. Stan may have been tall and skinny but he was a brawler. Those that were not as spontaneously ingenious in the heat of the battle, may say he did not fight fair. But Stan after surprising his attackers by his swiftness, skill, cunning and fierceness, always gave them a second chance and let them up.

One of his memorable fights, Stan let the Head Deacon’s kid go after breaking his fingers in response to being attacked behind the Church. The next service the Deacon's kid brought his fat friend twice Stan’s size and cornered him in a Sunday School room. Stan broke the Deacon’s kid’s nose with a chair, then cracked a few ribs and kneed him in the groin. The fat kid seeing the results quickly left. Stan would always go after the leader and before the followers could pile on, he would in seconds show there was hell to pay.

Perhaps it was part chivalry, or perhaps he felt sorry for them falling for the baited ambush. After all these were not the truly dangerous hardened criminal inner-city street thugs. These were small town rural farmer kids, bullies that only thought they were tough (this was before small towns become havens for poverty, drug infested and hide outs for small time gangs).

But he told me a couple times afterwards that the second fight is when the real battle began. He knew the bullies could not walk away even for their own good. They would not admit defeat to a skinny outsider, until real damage was done. It was only the second battle that would win their respect. It was only then would they accept him. Stan would often make friends with those bullies early on, or sometimes they simply accepted a stand-off. Hurting them, once, no matter how bad, would escalate the battles. It was only if you could increase the cost by several order in magnitude in the second battle would there be lasting peace.

My big brother was respected by these kids and I never really had to deal with the harassment. No peer pressure to smoke or do drugs, because Stan let them know I was off limits.

This toughness may have helped him survive when we did finally move to the big city, Kansas City, MO. But it may have also given him too much access to  real trouble. But this is a different story.


WordPress database error: [Table './dailyspeculations_com_@002d_dailywordpress/wp_comments' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed]
SELECT * FROM wp_comments WHERE comment_post_ID = '4684' AND comment_approved = '1' ORDER BY comment_date




Speak your mind


Resources & Links