angry kidChapter Twenty-Five
Ashville, North Carolina

Andrew poked his head in at the door of his Dad’s room. Max was sitting in a chair next to the bed his head tilted onto his shoulder napping. Ryan sprawled out on the only other chair in the small room, his head hanging backwards and his mouth slightly open, snoring. Andrew’s grin preceded him into the room but the sight of his brother and father widened it. They looked like bookends. He tapped Ryan gently on his shoulder, shushing him with his forefinger to his lips when he started at the touch. He waited while Ryan shook off his drowsiness before whispering.

“They found Mom. She’s okay, but very confused.

The brothers regarded each other for a moment then slapped hands at the shared good news. Ryan pulled himself to a standing position, motioning Andrew toward the hall. Max stirred, but continued to nap.

“Let’s get a cup of coffee.” Ryan said once the door closed. Andrew nodded. Turning together, Ryan reached across put his arm across Andrew’s shoulders and gave him a squeeze. The action flustered Andrew. He looked quizzically at his older brother.

“Remember when we used to call you Andrew the Kangaroo?”

“Do I? And I’d come flying into you or Barry only to wind up with a bloody nose. You know I can’t figure out why on earth that made me so mad.”

“Me, either. It made Momma so mad at the lot of us that she would spank us all. You should have seen your face. Did you ever get hot! After you got to be about ten, we could not make you mad with it anymore. Ruined our fun.”

“That’s after Daddy had his little talk with me.”

Ryan raised his eyebrows, his interest peaked.

“According to him, he was a real hot head growing up.”

“DAD? You have to be kidding! Momma, maybe, but not Dad. I don’t remember him ever raising his voice, not that he spared the paddling, but anger, couldn’t be so.”

“That’s what I thought, but he shared the secret Grandma Carnes shared with him.” Andrew paused and let Ryan’s curiosity crest.

“Which was . . .?”

“The Lord’s Prayer. That’s the secret formula to cooling off before reacting.”

“You mean, ‘Our Father who art in heaven. . .’ that Lord’s Prayer?”

“The same—you say it before blowing your cool and usually you don’t”

Ryan hooted.

“Barry and I worked overtime trying to get you riled up. We decided you’d had some kind of “religious experience”. He paused mid stride and grinned at Andrew before chortling, “I guess you had—in a way.”

The brothers laughed and exchanged the traditional male shoulder slaps before continuing down the hall.