Curtis was the family clown. You couldn’t be around him for more than five minutes without laughing. He was 6′ 5″ tall, a giant of a man, with an even bigger personality. He loved to joke around and he teased me unmercifully as a child. He was the athletic director at the Knoxville Boys Club. I ran track for the Boys Club! I guess you could say I had an inside track. At age twelve, I won the State Championship in Track & Field for three events. Curtis would say things like, “Why don’t you wear those medals on your chest? At least you would have something there.” Then, he would roar with laughter.
Sonny is the first of six of us. As teenagers, Sonny and Curtis would go out knocking on doors to find lawns to mow. Curtis was a salesperson. He could talk anyone into anything! He would get the jobs for them to do, then he would sit under a tree and read a book while Sonny did the work.
When he was a young boy, he had a pet duck. He was playing with it and stepped on it accidentally. It was then a dead duck and his goose was cooked! Mother told him to bury the duck in the field. A few days later, she was walking through the field and saw something sticking up out of the ground. Curtis had buried the duck with it’s bill sticking out of the ground. The bill had a daisy in it. No one could ever say he wasn’t creative.
Curtis and Sonny were only eighteen months apart in age, so they were together most of the time. They shared a room. Daddy was a pretty strict father, particularly when it came to dating. He had set a curfew of 10:00 PM. “If you aren’t in this house by ten o’clock, I’m locking the doors and calling the police.” he warned.
Curtis was out late and Daddy had locked the doors. Sonny was fast asleep. “Sonny, Sonny, let me in.”, Curtis was tapping on the window and attempting to wake his brother. Sonny stumbled to the window to open it for Curtis to climb through. Curtis creeped in through the window, or so he thought. His foot caught on the curtains and pulled them down, along with the window shade. The racket woke up all of us. Daddy went flying through the house, and you might imagine the ending to the story. I can assure you it included an end!
Most of the family called Curtis, Brother. I called him Bruth. I miss him so much, but his memory lives on in my heart. When I think about him, it brings a smile to my face. He brought lots of smiles to lots of faces, and now he is doing the smiling…down on us.