“Meanderings” by Jim Peters

Jim Peters sent the following in response to today’s tragedy in Boston:

I spent four hours today wondering where my brother was, whether I still had one, and all of those things that go through your head when he is running his 24th. BAA Marathon in three hours and thirteen minutes at the young age of sixty. By my estimation, he was in Boston at the explosion site at the time of the bombings. Fortunately I am a little slow when it comes to time and numbers and my timing was off. But my whole family, all ten of us, with our spouses and children, were afraid for Tom.

It does not matter, really, when you look at it, whether or not the weather was nice, which it was, or the job was well-worth waiting for in this situation. You worry about the kid you grew up with, you fought with, you drank with. It matters that he is well and on the bus fully accounted for and in good health. Tom is a free spirit. If I would like to be in a tough situation, Tom is the person I would want covering my back. I would know that I did not have to worry about that part of my anatomy. Tom is simply a great brother. We hardly agree on anything of substance but delight in agreeing to disagree.

When my father was dying, something you do not get over, I have noticed, Tom was the one who rode on his motorcycle through terrible southern storms to be at his side for the last month of his life. None of the rest of us did it, Tom did it. When he was a kid, Tom took up wrestling. He was great at it and I was the victim of many a strangle-hold of one type or another, in our daily fights which kept me in line.

Tom was the best fisherman I have ever known. Once, he caught so many bullheads that he made the front page of the newspaper as he carried home his catch. I did not catch them, but I cleaned them and ate them and they were the best fish I have ever tasted. When we went out for Northern Pike, Tom, equally balanced in the same canoe I was in, caught his first. The water in Canada was so clear we could see the fish take the lure. Again, it was delicious.

When we were in college, Tom had some tough assignments. He not only got his Bachelor’s degree, but went on and captured not one but three Master’s degrees. One in business, one in math, and one, I believe, in accounting. When I was forming my business he had helpful tips for me and was usually right. He would come to a site, tell me what I was doing right or wrong, and tell me how to fix it. I appreciated his observations.

So today I worked and Tom ran. Then the woman I was working for told me about the bombings I went home immediately and waited by the television, looking at the wounded to see if any of them looked like Tom. They did not. But TV held me in sway. I believed if I kept watching I would see him. Not until my sister, Mary, called me with the news that he was on a bus and accounted for, could I rest.

So this is to my big brother, Tom. He is shorter that I am in height, but dwarfs me in intellect. He would be the first to tell me how insignificant he felt up against the weight of the world that fell on our shoulders on Monday Patriot’s Day, in the year 2013.

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