Thursday, December 22, 2011


Our family was living in Indonesia when I knocked out my brother's front tooth.

I was five and Brett was two, and it really was an accident. We were playing on the sofa and Brett was bending over to get a ball. His behind was stuck up in the air. It was as though there was a target just on his backside. I just gave him a little nudge on the rump and he went flying. Right into the edge of the coffee table. I guess I'm lucky that all he lost was a front tooth.

Being Indonesia in 1976, there were no surgical dentists in the country. Mom, Brett, and I had to travel to the Philippines to get my brother taken care of. I took my favorite stuffed animal with me. Bimbo was a monkey doll (pictured above) and my treasure. As we were leaving the plane Brett asked to hold my stuffie. I wouldn't let him so his requests turned into a whine. Pretty soon Mom made me let him hold Bimbo. I specifically remember telling her that "Brett is a baby and too young to keep up with Bimbo. He's sure to loose it." Mom made me let him anyway - no doubt to stop the whining and because I was the one who got us in the pickle in the first place. We had our first cab ride with Brett gloating over Bimbo the whole way. When we arrived at the hotel and the cab was long gone, I looked around for my monkey friend. Bimbo was nowhere to be found.

Brett had left him in the taxi. WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

My poor mother. Can you imagine being alone in a strange country with a two year old son who needed medical care and a five year old crying daughter who just wanted her monkey back? Mom tried to console me that some poor child who didn't have a lot of other stuffed animals back at home was sure to discover Bimbo and treasure him and love him and give him a good home. I wasn't having any of it. I wanted my Bimbo back and I wanted him NOW!

I didn't get him back. Of course.

What I did do was hold that over my brother's head off and on for years. When we got into bickering matches, and I couldn't find anything else to say, I could always end it with, "And anyway - you lost my Bimbo." Conveniently forgetting that he had only been two.

Fast forward to the Christmas I was 15. My brother was now 12 and a notorious tightwad. He always had plenty of money because he never spent it. Gifts from Brett were really from Mom with his name signed on them. Until that year.

It was Christmas morning and Brett was wiggling with excitement. It wasn't about his own presents, either. It was for me to open my gift from him. As I started to open it, my Mom told me that Brett had spent his own money to buy this for me.


Mom had spotted it at a church yard sale. Brett had insisted on spending his own money to buy it for me. Even though Mom was happy to pay for it, he wanted this one to be 100% from him.

My best surprise ever. My best Christmas present. My best brother.

Merry Christmas, Brett.


Sarah said...

That is such a sweet story and brought a tear to my eye!

Macrina said...

Oh! This made me cry! No matter what age we are, how much good there is in the heart of us. Thanks for sharing.

Jennifer Richardson said...

thank you Relyn,

Christina said...

how beautiful!
merry christmas, my friend.

Suz said...

how much you look like Sloane
Your poor little broken girl heart...poor mom....but it has a happy you still have him

Relyn said...

Yes, I have him. That last picture is Sloane rescuing him from my Mom's attic.

Claire said...

Oh, this brought tears to my eyes! Merry Christmas sweet girl!


Jeanne said...

How beautiful and sweet.
Merry Christmas sweet friend
Love Jeanne

Ragamuffin Gal said...

Love your story Relyn ~ I didn't know this so it was a delight to read. Blessings sweet gal to your and yours this Christmas season (and for most of us ~ all year long) ~ Katie

Lubna said...

Merry Xmas, Relyn, to you and your loving family and friends.

Anonymous said...

How very sweet and dear of him.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story! Sending you and your family lots of good wishes for Christmas. I hope you get to put your feet up at some point, Relyn! (Why do I get the feeling that's not your style? Too dynamic?!)

Marilyn said...

What a precious story. It did bring my eyes to the brink of tears. Thanks for sharing it with us.

susanna said...

Awww...what a GOOD Christmas present story! Way to go, Brett!!

Merry Christmas, Relyn! Merry Christmas, Brett! Merry Christmas, Bimbo!

Dawn said...

I had one of those! That was such a sweet story! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

HKatz said...

Lovely :)

I hope you and your family had a happy holiday (and will have a great new year to come).

Jeanie said...

Oh, Relyn, this breaks my heart in a happy way. I hope you still have Bimbo -- he is a treasure forever. Coolest thing ever!

miruspeg said...

Oh what a delightful story Relyn!
You are a wonderful storyteller and I love the photos you have included too.
Keep shining dear friend.
Peggy xxxxxx

elizabeth said...


*heart melts*

I chipped one of my little brothers' teeth too. I was pushing him down the hill next to our house on a tricycle, running for a bit and then jumping on. On one jump, I overstepped and my foot landed between the step and the bike and the bike fell forward and my brother landed on his face. Ouch. Poor guy.

Amy said...

Oh good grief . . . I'm sitting here crying! Loved the stories of Christmases past . . .

Deborah Carr said...

Loved this story! And such a happy ending. Did everyone have a Bimbo? I remember that monkey...his banana fit into his mouth. (I didn't have one of my own, but someone I knew did and I got to play with him.)

Roban said...

What a precious story! I'm sure your brother felt terrible about losing Bimbo(especially since his mistake followed him around like a lost puppy!), but his joy in giving you your Bimbo back must have been an incredible feeling.

It sounds like you have a wonderful brother.

(I'm catching up on a few of your posts and loved the one about your mother's chocolate mint Christmas. That was a lovely lesson learned from your father.)

krista said...

three things:
1 - this is the sweetest story. seriously.
2 - that black and white picture is stunning. STUNNING.
3 - that monkey is the freakiest looking thing i have ever seen.

(happy new year to you, lovely. xo)

Jaime said...

What a sweet story! But I have to agree with! It's a little bit frightening, that monkey. But a sweet story nonetheless.
Reminds me of the time I nailed my brother in the forehead with a metal golf club.By accident... he was teaching me how to swing, and was standing a wee bit too close... (why do I feel like I've told you this story before?) Anyway, all I heard were screams, before I even knew what happened. He got stitches. He still has a small scar. But, considering he shut the car door on my finger a few years later... we called a truce. :)

Oldies, but Goodies