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.