Brotherly Love

Now that the summer has come I have switched from maintenance to camp programs. Holly and I moved out to Camp War Eagle two weeks ago to teach an intensive, four day lifeguarding class. Each year the class starts with an endurance swim of 600 yards. I re-certified this year and swam it miserably and alone before the class officially started. Hours later, as the lifeguard hopefuls slipped into the water, I found out that it was only 300.

My brother Harlin is out at War Eagle this summer; he certified to be a lifeguard as well. Though he wasn’t in my teaching group, I could see him stride jump into the pool because his legs are the biggest pair of scissors on the planet. When the class moved towards the final skill, backboarding potential spinal injuries, I made it a point to watch Harlin perform. He dove nine feet in order to secure and resurface with his victim. When he came up treading water, he yelled, “I can’t see anymore!”

I never knew how bad my brother’s eyesight is. I assumed that we had similar prescriptions – not in the least. He could hit the broadside of the barn but he wouldn’t know it was a barn. And the rush of resurfacing washed his contacts out of his eyes and onto his cheeks.

Before he could make a further decision, his victim, another future lifeguard, recognized the problem. “Don’t worry,” she said as she took his contacts and put them in her mouth. Then Harlin finished the backboard procedure with a lot of helpful commands from the sidelines.

He wore the same contacts the next day.

Harlin won’t work the first half of the summer – he’s enrolled in summer school. Classes actually began four days before orientation ended. As a part of camp policy, Harlin had to leave camp early in the morning to attend his classes and return in the afternoon. The night before his first class, we talked about when he should leave camp and agreed on 6:30.

The next morning at 7:15, Holly and I stepped onto the office porch where Harlin was sitting in a porch swing. “Have you seen my keys?” he asked. No, and not usually, I said. “I think I may have given them to Katie,” he said, citing his girlfriend. “I’m waiting for her to wake up.” To speed up the process, Holly gave him the keys to her car, warning him that it was low on fuel. After he thanked her and turned to go, he said, “Oh yeah – my wallet’s in my car. Can I borrow money for gas?”

That night when he returned, showed me his spare car key and paid me back. He was a half hour late to class, but Harlin described his history professor as “an odd duck.” The first hour of the four hour block was the professor’s lifestory. Since Harlin  missed it, he summed it up during the first break. The man has been in three movies.

While we were talking, Holly arrived and asked about her car. “It’s fine,” he said. “And thanks for gas. Oh yeah – you got a parking ticket because you don’t have an NWACC pass. You need to be more careful next time. But your court date isn’t for another month.”

I assured Holly that he was joking. However, that night when we got back to our room there was a yellow parking slip on her pillow. It was only a first-offense warning.


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