26 June 2009

T-Shirt Salesman

Late last night I was doing laundry, because that's how I roll. I was putting Kevin's shirts into the washer, checking each one for stains as he comes home pretty grubby most days.

He has those bright fluorescent shirts that you see construction workers wear, and he rocks them. But lately, he's been wearing some of his racing shirts also. This only makes me happy as he has eleventy hundred of them.

But this shirt punches me in the gut every time. I can't decide if I'm pleased that he wears it or if I want to go hide it away now that he's not home.

My friend Brad, you've heard of him before, lost his seven year old son in 2004 to a freak household accident. It was one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever experienced. There is just no way to console your friend when they have lost a child.

The last time I saw Casey was during fireworks, at the Speedway. Brad used to be a sprint car racer back in the day. While he was really, really good, I couldn't bear to watch him race. If you've ever watched circle track racing, you get an idea. Now make the cars open wheel and on clay. I was so proud of him, I just couldn't watch him race. It was too scary for me.

Brad, Casey, and his mom visited us before and after the racing and fireworks show. Brad also used to help with fireworks and has always been one of my biggest supporters. It was tradition that he would come visit after a show to see how we were doing. A show didn't feel finished until I had talked to Brad.

My brother described Casey the best: "He was like a little walking Discovery Channel." Casey was constantly talking, asking questions, posing ideas and on the move. He was such a great little guy. He was very much Brad's son. Everything that I loved about Brad was two-fold in Casey.

This was the first year that Casey was old enough to understand what he was looking at and what we had been doing with the fireworks. After satisfying his curiosity about the fireworks, Brad was telling us about how he now had t-shirts. Casey interjected that he was selling them to everyone. (as his dad shakes his head over him and mouths "No, you can have them.")

Casey had little price sheets he had written on notebook paper in pencil. He handed them to all of us and explained where we could find him later if we wanted to buy shirts. It was one of the doggone cutest things ever.

I don't know who was more proud that night, Casey of his dad or Brad of his son. When I think of Casey, I always remember that night.

My Brad shirt is in my cedar chest. It's only been worn once and that was to Casey's memorial just a few months later after that show. Meanwhile, Kevin wears his occasionally. His little nod to Casey and to Brad, I think.

1 comment:

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

How tragic and horrible that your friend lost his son. But what a sweet, touching post remembering him. Sounds like an awesome kiddo!