Growing up, I always wanted a big brother. My reasoning was simple – he could help Daddy with the horrendous task of yard work and protect Stephanie and me from my oldest sister, Deana, who beat us to a pulp when we were little.
I never got an older brother. I got a Larry.
Larry Scott has worked for my family for the past 20 years – part gardener, part Daddy’s personal assistant. He is really a jack of all trades – washing windows, polishing floors, helping Momma hang Christmas decorations, landscaping, and day to day “Daddy stuff”.
Over the years, Larry has become part of the family, and I have said many times, if I needed a kidney and Larry needed a kidney, Larry would get the kidney. “He works harder than you,” Daddy jokes.
Larry is Daddy’s sidekick like Batman and Robin, Bo and Luke Duke, Butch and Sundance (which is which, I sometimes get confused). I don’t think Daddy can make it without Larry, and on days when Larry is unable to come, it just ruins Daddy’s whole day. Of course, we know that Daddy just wants a friend to hang out with.
One weekend when I was home from college, Momma got a call from the police informing her that Daddy had been in an accident, and we were needed at the scene immediately. Of course, we thought he was dead. When we get there, Daddy, all purple-faced with that bulging vein in his forehead, is leaning up against the back of the ambulance. He was alright, but the police had to call an ambulance because they though he looked like he was having a stroke (he was just ticked off). He made the police call us because someone had to go and pick up Larry.
Daddy and Larry go to breakfast most mornings at some diner while they plan what they will be meddling with later that day. It could be a church project, spreading a load of mulch, or mowing the front lawn in a diagonal pattern just like Daddy likes it. Side by side, they work, and because they have been together for so many years, it is a routine.
There is always a project the two are working on. For the last couple of years, their favorite thing has been bush hogging down at the farm. Of course, Daddy won’t let Larry drive the tractor, and Larry has been itching ride. Larry kind of leads the way to make sure Daddy doesn’t hit something or fall off and run himself over. Most days, they both look like a wild cat attacked them because they got caught up in a blackberry bush (it just jumped out and got ‘em!).
Of course, he and Daddy manage the landscaping duties at my sisters and my homes. And, Lord forbid it not be kept to Larry’s standards, he will shake his finger at us and tell us just how lazy we are. Of course, he is all talk -- he would do anything for us.
He is always in charge of everything my family is scared of doing. For example, once as I stood at the kitchen window, Larry was shimmying up a tree in the yard with a cranked chainsaw because Daddy wanted all the trees “canopied”. Daddy was down on the ground directing.
One Christmas, Momma wanted wreaths on every window on the front of the house, including the dormer windows at the top. After some serious thought, Larry decided to climb up the back of the house, cross over the roof, and hang the wreaths while sitting on top of the dormer windows. The family all stood in the front yard anxiously as we watched Larry made it over the roof to hang the wreaths. Neighbors had come out of their houses to watch the spectacle as Daddy hollered up at him, “Larry, we should have put you in a Santa outfit because if you get stuck, you are staying up there through Christmas.”
We hoped he was joking – you never can tell.
Larry was in charge of the champagne fountain at my sister’s wedding. Daddy had bought him a new suit, and he looked quite dapper in his mauve sharkskin suit. After the wedding, Daddy sent Larry home with a case of champagne. Last we saw of him, he was walking down Union Ave. in Memphis with a case of champagne under one arm and a cute wedding caterer on the other.
He is family, and we include him as we would any other member of the family. Mind you he likes being part of the family which should make you question his sanity. Of course, one more crazy in my family doesn’t shuffle the deck too much. Besides, someone has to guide Daddy so he doesn’t run himself over with the bush hog.