My Family:
GuyBeau

by Christopher Jones

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    When mother announced you were coming, I knew she was crazy-bonkers-looney. Look at it from my perspective. What in the world did I need with another brother? I already had four dribbling siblings to put up with.

    Another brother?

    Crazy!

    Bonkers!

    Looney!

    Now, I’d never get that

    Pendleton shirt I wanted or a

    fiberglass-and-resin-coated

    balsa monolith.

    No surfing board for me.

    Another brother.

    Insane!

    Why Tracy, the youngest of the Jones boys, was

    already in kindergarten.

    Mother was infant-free at last.

    Why start all over again with babies?

    You came anyway,

    despite my cogent, lucid, and

    insightful protests.

    Rationality did not prevail.

    The biology was already in motion.

    I was 12 at the time.

    A deacon.

    And before long I was ordained

    your babysitter,

    while mother went to Dales Market

    or Giacapuzzi Dairy

    or Reseda II Ward Primary.

    And that was way before Pampers and

    Luvs.

    I hated it—tending

    toddler you.

    Another brother.

    What had I done to deserve such a harsh

    judgment?

    Somehow I managed to tolerate year one of your

    existence.

    But year two,

    that’s when I came to understand the

    devastation of

    atomic warfare.

    Every day I’d come home from high school

    to find my room

    nuked.

    A tornado was a birthday party

    compared to what you did to my very personal and

    very teenage-important things.

    I’m talking about you,

    Intradomicile Ballistic Missile expert,

    Guy Alexander Jones.

    Soon life became complicated

    for me

    entangled with permanent relationships and

    Shock—children of my own.

    You were still my brother

    in a statistical sense of the word.

    Of course, you were at all the Jones family

    functions and get-togethers.

    Even went to Niagara Falls with us one year.

    But you were

    just another brother.

    Until last winter

    when you came to live with us

    up in Provo town.

    I remember the first day

    when you, GuyBeau, came to stay.

    We trekked on down to D.I. just above Provo River

    and rummaged through the salvaged bedding.

    The boxspring was a steal at 8 dollars

    and the mattress a real D.I. bargain at 55,

    But at least you had a bed of your own.

    For four months you became

    part of the Utah Joneses,

    part of us,

    living under the same asphalt shingles

    sharing the same forced-air heating

    watching the same fuzzy TV.

    Sometimes we’d talk late into the night

    about the categorical differences between

    Mod and New Wave and Prep.

    (You, of course, always wore topsiders with no socks.)

    And sometimes we discussed

    what a tremendous spiritual experience it was

    taking an exam in the

    Harold B. Lee Testing Center.

    When you weren’t talking with us

    or sleeping

    or protecting Cosmo, our cat, from the kids,

    you ate

    a wholesome and nutritious diet of

    pork’n beans and chocolate chip cookies for

    dinner

    and blended eggs (not fork-whipped mind you) but

    blended eggs for breakfast and …

    MALTS.

    Malts for lunch and

    malts for any time in between and

    malts for when Connie’s letters didn’t come and

    malts for those times the Harold B. Lee Testing

    Center wasn’t a spiritual experience.

    Justin and Nathan and Kristen loved having you

    around.

    You were the greatest Big Kid ever

    to come play at our house.

    You did legos and tinkertoys,

    colored Easter eggs and showed the boys

    how to play soccer.

    You subbed for me when I was tied up

    making ends meet and

    meeting the ends of professorial demands.

    And every Monday you took more than your

    part in our FHEs.

    April 23 Winter Semester ended.

    You had to go home to make money for a mission.

    We watched from the big glass window

    in the converted garage as you pulled away to go

    back to California.

    By April 24th I knew something was wrong.

    Luella noticed it too.

    Our family was somehow smaller

    less whole

    in your absence.

    That’s when I knew you would no longer be

    just another brother.

    Illustrated by Richard Hull