His Brother and George Bush

FRANKLIN MASON

January 17, 1992|By FRANKLIN MASON

He doesn't know if he should write this story, doesn't know ifhe can write this story. Perhaps it is too soon, perhaps he is too close. Maybe he should not write it now or ever. For, you see, it is about his brother and George Bush.

Maybe you can tell him what you think. He doesn't know.

You see, it is a true story, or mostly true, or true as he can make it. Maybe fiction is easier, easier to write, for it doesn't have to be true. What happens in this story happened just last week. And the point of the story, if he can find the point, happened Monday January 6.

So what is this about his brother and George Bush?

You know how it is with politics. How it is how as it has ever been. Politics is never cool, never collected. Politics flares. It may show white heat. It may be in low echelon but it may climb, climb right to the top, to the president.

His brother couldn't stand George Bush, couldn't stand George Bush at all, could stand nothing about George Bush.

And his brother had been ill, ill for some time, very ill. All his brother wanted was to die and then on Monday January 6 his brother died. He was 86.

His brother was eight years older than he. Eight years is a distance in childhood. Then years passed and his brother's wife died and then his own wife died. It was in these late years that he and his brother were close.

In his young years his brother was quiet, talked little or none. But his tongue loosed in late years and his brother talked and talked. He found he and his brother were alike, liked the same things, believed the same things, and didn't believe other things. They believed in people more than money and they didn't believe in George Bush.

But that is only part of the story.

His brother died January 6 and George Bush was heading toward Japan. A little later in Japan, George Bush was having quite a time himself. George Bush collapsed, fell to the floor right before the Japanese, right before the television. It was not a good time for George Bush. There were fears. But George Bush came back, snapped back, joked. Said he only wanted attention, said even Democrats got the flu. So it was that many were thankful that George Bush came back.

Then it was later and the family were at his brother's graveside. There were prayers at his brother's graveside. And later his brother was safe from the living, safely under ground. Then the family and friends went to his grandson's house for the traditional gathering. His sister's son was there, had flown there from a distance at a moment's notice.

He didn't know how his story was going, he wished he knew. He wanted someone to tell him. Birth is the time for weeping, death is the time for laughter, they said. Didn't someone say?

Yes, there was laughter. Laughter about his brother and George bush. How his brother couldn't stand George Bush. What if something more happened to George Bush? What if George Bush went up to heaven and his brother were waiting there? What then? What would his brother say to George Bush? Yes, there was laughter.

Then it came to him about himself. He hadn't thought of it before. Perhaps he was the patriarch now, whatever that was, whatever that meant. Surely he was the oldest of the family now, now his brother was gone.

His brother had a son, his sister had a son, but he hadn't. He had married late in life. He didn't know if he wanted to wear the robe or the mantle or whatever it was the patriarch wore. Or he thought the patriarch wore.

All this happened a few days ago. He wished he knew more about time, about what time was. He wished he knew more about what a story was.

He only knew he was lonely.

His brother had been the keeper, the caretaker of memories. And now his brother was gone. He knew he would remember his brother always. All he could think of now was that his brother was gone and all he knew now was that he was lonely, lonely thinking of his brother.

Franklin Mason is a retired Sun copyreader.

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