The calls often started with “you’ll never believe what just happened!” My baby brother wrapping up yet another adventure which probably meant he was in a jam. I got it. I probably got it better than anyone because he really looked up to me when he was young and often the example I set wasn’t setting him on course to be a cautious contemplative responsible adult.
I don’t have a defense. I was reckless. I would get a “great idea” in my head and run off to execute it before I checked for the inevitable consequences.
In 1989 my wife and I lived with him in Virginia for a while. He and I worked at an exciting job riding courier for Cycle Express. Cycle Express was the only motorcycle courier service I had ever seen. We communicated with our boss with Motorola radios. His call sign was MC-6.
His boss used to dread the calls that went along the lines of : “MC-6 to base, Bad News…” The following report was always interesting and often unbelievable unless you knew Chuck. He once somehow put a motorcycle in a tree.
He introduced me to his sweetheart Tami. They were so cute together. There was a real spark of passion between them. He told me he was going to marry her soon when she turned 18. She told me she wanted 8 kids. I told her she would probably change her mind around child number 3. I think she told me that she was done after number 6. But seven and eight were determined to come into the world.
Charles was a softy for animals. By the time he and Tami had been married several years they had more dogs cats and goats than any sane people I know of. I had to admire that. Although I like dogs I never had the compunction to take care of one much less several.
Charles had an eclectic work history. Some of the more interesting things he did were: professional clown. He got a real kick out of it and could tie balloon animals while balancing in place on a 6 foot unicycle. He eventually developed an allergy to his makeup and it was time to move on to high steel tower construction. At one point he and I went into business making wooden toys. It was hard to put food on the table with that and I went to drive a taxi while he drove a truck.
He began to work flea markets and trade shows selling all kinds of interesting products. Some of the products were other folks products but, many were ones he invented or made. One of his longest running pitches was No-Mor Fog. He would set up a booth and clean your glasses for free, all the while pitching a product that he invented that worked like a miracle. It cleaned your glasses and made them repel fog. You could walk inside from a cold winter night into a warm house with no fog up
When he was a boy and I was a teenager we shared a bedroom. He had a collection of clocks he salvaged from the dump and other places. He thought it was a real gas to wind them all up and put them around my head while I was sleeping and wait for them all to go off at one time. He was a real card.
I built him his first unicycle out of a trike fork and a unicycle seat when he was 6 or seven. He took to it like it was part of his body. It seemed like there wasn’t anything he couldn’t learn if he set his mind to it.
He was a natural at solving all kinds of mechanical problems with innovative do dads and thingy magigies (technical terms).
I find it impossible to comprehend that I will not be getting another “you’ll never believe what just happened” call from him again. I can’t speak for anyone but myself but I am confident many feel the way I do and it is going to be a long adjustment getting over losing my baby brother.
If you have a story about Chuck that you want to share feel free to post a comment. Thank you for letting me share with you.
P.S. I fly a powered parachute. It has a Rotax 582 engine that I have been treating my fuel mix with No-Mor Friction since 2009. I bought it with 16 hours on it and flew it over 300 days a year 1-5 hours a day till February of 2013. I never had to overhaul the engine.
When I return to New Mexico I will be flying it again with just a little service.