A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tougher Than Leather

When the little yearling walks it's almost painful to watch. Her injured back leg gives her a strange rolling gait. We don't know what happened to break the tendons in that leg so that she can't use it. We suspect she got it caught in a fence, a fate too common out here.

She stays by herself now. Most of the deer do this time of year except for the moms and babies. At the feeder when the corn is thrown out in the evening one of the bigger bossy does runs her off. She's learned to make the rounds looking for some supplement to what nature offers. From deer corn feeder to turkey milo feeder to the longhorns' pen looking for leftover feed and alfalfa, she moves in a circle outside the yard.

I've named her Tougher Than Leather after a Willie Nelson song about a gunslinger. Things are dry again out here so it's getting harder to find something to eat. But she perseveres. And when she has to she runs. Unlike her walk, her run is smooth and fluid and she's not diminished by her imperfections.

My brother David is the only sibling older than me. Being the older siblings we were the first ones to drive, the first ones to leave home, the first ones to fall and the first ones to learn to pick ourselves up after that fall.

David joined the Navy after high school. After his discharge he married and raised a family. He worked as a carpenter, moving from doing trim work on houses to working on massive concrete buildings. He spent his spare time working on his home and yard. His vacations were spent at the beach where he and his family joined friends and spent a week each summer. He loved to fish with our dad, brothers, and cousins. Life was good.

And then came the fall. He started having grand mal seizures. He suffered from short term memory loss. He would get in the truck and not remember where he worked or lived. He had to quit working and driving. Eventually he moved in with my parents and lived there for years until our mom went into a nursing home.

Scared but determined to carry on, he then moved into an apartment near his family. We went by to take him to the store, out to eat, bring him things he couldn't go out and get on his own. We took him to visit our Mama and to family fish fries and to the beach.

His ways of coping weren't always conducive to improved health. But we saw the fear and confusion in his eyes as he more and more lost control of his life, of his memory, of his ability to get by without help. But he lived the time he had in the fullest way he was able to and that is all any of us can do.

Gradually his health went from bad to worse. He suffered injuries from falls taken when he had the seizures. Always slim, he became frail and weak. Diagnosed a couple of months ago with bladder cancer he entered the hospital and a couple of weeks ago he went home to his son's house and into hospice care. His daughter returned from overseas with her little son to join her brother and his sons in caring for their father and grandfather.

No one knows what happens to us when we pass from this life. Sure, preachers and others claim to but they don't. All I'm sure of is it isn't like I learned in Sunday School as a child, however comforting that idea may be.

But I'm pretty sure wherever David is now, he has persevered. And his run is smooth and fluid and he's not diminished by his imperfections.

He too is tougher than leather.




  1. Sue, I'm so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family.

    1. Thank you, Judith. Our family had a rough week, losing not only David but my son-in-law's mother Miriam. She was only 57 and a beautiful soul.