In honor of yesterday’s Crappy House Day I’d like to share a story from the house mentioned in the post.
Tell a Fourth of July Story
Between the years 1983 and 1987 I lived in a house where people blew things up a lot more than most other households. There were always a lot of people over at our place drinking and this regularly led to things being lit on fire and then things exploding.
There was one guest who took part in the drinking but never the fire or fireworks; when things got too rowdy he would come find me downstairs and we’d discuss baseball, books I was reading and school. Unlike the rest of the regular house guests he was quiet to the point of near silence, like Boo Radley with a drinking problem. My mother told me that I was the only person he said more than two word to since he came back from Vietnam. At that age I knew that there had been a war in Vietnam and I knew he had served in it but I didn’t know that he came back changed because this was the only way I knew him. While others remembered a wild and fearless teenager I only knew the grown man who didn’t like to talk much and hated the Fourth of July.
When Independence Day turned to night he’d find his way downstairs to my room where it was quiet and we’d play board games and watch TV while everyone else attempted to blow up the neighborhood. When the noise was too much he’d put his head down and when his beer ran out I’d run to the cooler to get another (and sometimes one for myself). The next morning I’d find him outside sifting through piles of spent fireworks he had collected He said he was making sure there was no live explosives left in the field. I didn’t know what this meant but he told me I wasn’t trained for this and I should stay inside until he gave the all clear. I didn’t ask questions, he was my friend.
P.S. Upon telling this to someone they remarked: “So the most responsible guy you knew as a kid was a Vietnam vet with a post traumatic stress disorder?” I never said most responsible, but he was the least dangerous.