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the occasions lady and

Scars From My Brother
by Audrey Poff, illustration by Brittney Guest Osborn

I’ve thought about writing this column for a few years but decided to wait for the right moment. Considering the fact that my brother, Solan, has a milestone birthday this month, I think now is the perfect time to reflect on a few of the scars I have incurred in life as a result of growing up with an older brother.

The Chin Scar
I was probably 3 or 4 years old when I got my first scar. My brother, sister and I had been playing with a red wagon on the sidewalk in front of our house in Blytheville. I was originally told that I busted my chin open when I fell on the tongue of the wagon, but that was apparently a cover-up. After we were grown, Solan told me that I actually busted my chin on the concrete. Since we had been playing with rope that we were not supposed to have, my older siblings concocted a slightly different version of the story. Regardless of how it happened, I came home from the emergency room with two small rows of stitches under my chin.

The Minibike Burn
A few years later, when I was approximately 6 or 7, my brother got an awesome minibike. I thought it was so cool and probably pestered him constantly for a ride. He would sometimes let me ride on the back as he drove it through our front yard. I was too young to have any concept of engines at the time, but when the inside of my right knee came in contact with the bike’s motor one day, I learned a valuable lesson and claimed my second scar.

A Traumatized Toe
While there was no outwardly visible scar with this incident, it was immensely painful and possibly fractured a toe. While he was in high school, my brother began playing tennis. I was probably 12 or 13 years old at the time. I was watching television in the den when he came home one night after playing tennis and asked if I wanted to see his serve. He threw an imaginary tennis ball into the air and then followed through with a powerful serve. When he heard his racket hit something, he began looking around the den. I already knew. My legs were dangling over the arm of the recliner when he came down with his racket, making direct impact with my big toe. I was seeing stars by the time he realized it was my bone that he had just heard crack.

A Continuing Legacy
After my son, Adam, was born, he was often the one injured during outings with my brother. Adam and my nephew, Austin, are just six weeks apart, so they were often together growing up. Although I don’t think any of Adam’s injuries resulted in scars, there were several times that he came home slightly injured from the day’s activities. There was the time that Solan got Adam a remote-controlled helicopter for his birthday. When they took it outside to fly it in the dark, the fun ended when one of the toy’s blades cut into Adam’s forehead. A few years later, my brother took Adam and Austin sledding at Craighead Forest Park after a big snow. After Adam crashed face first into the chain-link fence, my brother brought him home with a distinct diamond-pattern etched into his face.

I’m sure my brother has a slightly different, and possibly more accurate, recollection of these stories, but I have the scars. Regardless, life with an adventurous brother is almost always more fun. Thanks for always making life memorable.