When I think of my brother, I invariably think of the scar above his right eye, and the day it happened.
We were playing with our friends, the Laganas, just outside their house. They had a new dog, a big German Shepherd, and everyone was trying to pet him. The youngest Lagana, Little Stevie, who was about six years old, decided the dog was big enough for him to ride, so he attempted to climb on, spooking the dog, who quickly slid out from under Little Stevie.
My 8-year-old brother, Kenny, thought Little Stevie was onto something, so he too attempted to mount the dog. This time, though, the dog was not just spooked, but angry. No sooner had Kenny jumped on its back, than the dog turned and bit him severely on the face, blood gushing everywhere, Kenny screaming in pain.
I pulled off my shirt and pressed it to his face, then grabbed him by the arm and led him home. I knew he needed a doctor, so instead of taking him into the house, I put him in the front seat of our car and ran to my father’s upholstery shop in the backyard.
Minutes later, we were in Dr. Cornielsen’s office, which fortunately was only a few blocks from our home. Dr. Cornielsen stitched him up, more than thirty stitches in all. It was a memorable scar, not so much because of the number of stitches, but because of its message. The healed scar spelled “OK.”
Some scars are small, some scars are big, some are disfiguring and ugly, but some scars, as my brother later discovered, can be used to pick up women in bars.
He’s ten years gone now, and I miss him.