Earlier Times


As I behold a color photograph from long ago, I remember the day as if it were yesterday. It was in our second home, in a small California town called El Sobrante. The scene depicts me and younger brother, Isaiah. I would think that I was probably about nine at the time; if so, Isaiah would have been six.


In the background, I can see a tall, faded fence, whose gate leads from the backyard into the garden area. It is a pleasant summer day, and Isaiah and I are standing in front of a patch of tall sunflower plants, just starting to bloom. A small area of grass has grown all around the miniature jungle scene. Three flat rocks, functioning as stepping stones, sit silently in the garden, just to our left. Looking at the picture myself, I am wearing a light yellow sweater and an orange shirt beneath. I also have on some nondescript cotton pants.


Isaiah, who always wore dark sunglasses, including to bed, is currently sporting a yellow-rimmed pair of said shades. I can make out a white sweatshirt, probably one of Mom’s, considering that the design in the center is a pink carnation. The pants he has on are a parade of colorful zigzag patterns, and he loved any pants that were as “loud” as those.


Quite frankly, our relationship has changed. Back then, when we were both comparatively young, I was more or less Isaiah’s “hero” image. Such were the days that we probably got along better than we do now; since we are both in our teens now, we have come to realize that everyone is required --- and by some unwritten law, apparently --- to bother his brother. I guess I have a short temper with him, but I also think that he subscribes to "Annoying Younger Brothers Monthly," a secret magazine that informs him exactly how to “push your siblings' buttons.”


Strangely enough, a couple of years ago Isaiah developed what was later diagnosed as epilepsy. Those who are not familiar with an epileptic seizure are generally seen either running for the nearest exorcist, or just plain running. Seizures for Isaiah are under control, thankfully. It often reached the point where we would call the paramedics.


Back to the picture, it really does take a person for a stroll down Memory Lane, and oftentimes I think that childhood -- not just for me, but for many -- is one of the best times in our lives. Not because we got to play around a lot, but simply because we are now old enough to realize something: Childhood means innocence, and when we were children, we did not know of the “real world” and therefore did not fear it.