There was once a little boy whose name was Bill. He was part of a large family. One day he was sledding and hit his head. He started stammering after that and eventually he stuttered most of the time. It was difficult for him to talk. He was shy and kids can be unkind to anyone who is different. He struggled. As a teenager he visited New York City and fell in love with the big ships. He announced that one day he would work on those ships and spend his time exploring exotic places. In never occurred to him that his stuttering would be an impediment and it wasn’t.
He joined the merchant marines. He became a cook and baker. He loved food and preparing great meals. He made friends on his ships. He didn’t stutter too much when he was away from the people who knew him as the guy who stuttered. When he was in this world of newness he also became new. Many of the people that met him in those years at sea didn’t even know he had a problem with his speech. He was comfortable out of his home town environment and with this new family his speech was fairly normal.
He traveled a great deal of the world. He saw many of the countries he dreamed of visiting. He lived for a time in Hawaii and Indonesia. He had time to just be. To read, play chess, think. His dream of seeing the world came true. Then he decided it was time to come home. He missed his home and family especially his mom. His parents were getting older and needed help. He became the family chef. His parents enjoyed the meals he prepared and they began to see him differently. He had traveled the world. He had experienced things they only dreamed of. He was still shy about talking with family especially those who still saw him as the one who stuttered. It was interesting to hear it come and go depending on whom he was interacting with. When he could be coaxed into sharing some of his adventures others were transported to the exotic places he had been. No-one seemed to notice the stammering.
He had a special gift with animals. He communicated with them at a deep level. He rescued a beagle mix from the shelter and named her Lady. They became inseparable. He designed his days around her walks. He cooked for her and spent most of every day and night with her. Then suddenly he was gone from a blood clot. His death was a shock to all. Lady stayed with him even after his spirit had left. He was not alone.
Bill was my brother. He was the little boy who stuttered. He went to sea on big ships. He cared for his parents. He loved his dog. He put salt lick and corn out every winter so the deer would have something to eat. They gathered in his yard because they knew he would take care of them. That is who he was. A kind and gentle soul.
In the scheme of things it wasn’t a huge life. It was a nice life though. He lived his dream. He died 6 years ago. I learned a lot from Bill. He didn’t make a huge impact on the world just a big impact on his small world. I didn’t realize how much until he was gone. I miss you Bill.