From left to right – Blake, Malinda, me, Nat, Brian, Mike Photo by Mother Cecilia
By Roger Malcolm
Something is always missed when I hear comments about this photo. It’s not just a photo that reminds me of Stand by Me. It’s not just a photo. It’s a representation of my childhood. Tuesday walks to Spurgeon’s Corner fill my head with memories. The “boys” weren’t just four older cousins that picked on my sister (“Mindy got a big ol’ butt!”). They were each a unique personality of their own. I love thinking back when we are together and making fun of each other for the way we use to be and pretty much still are. Only, it’s less and less that we are together.
My cousin Brian had a macho army attitude; he was the oldest and that made him an adult that was allowed to use glasses and not the plastic cups under the counter like the rest of us. He was also the cousin that held me in his arms as I cried after I had dropped to my knees in the backyard, in standing water that pooled after a heavy rain, slicing my knee open on a piece of glass. It hurt but the memory seems less painful. The feeling of having my cousin Brian around since I was a young child hasn’t changed a bit. I always felt safer in his presence, his size very intimidating, and when you know he’s on your side, it’s very comforting. He even made a career in the military doing some bodyguarding, I do believe.
My second oldest cousin Mike had his “party on Garth” attitude and obsession with Aerosmith that always made me smile. I was the only person to watch my cousin Mike climb high into our Mamaw’s big tree in her backyard, only to have a limb break, causing him to come falling through all the limbs to the base of the tree with a loud THUMP! He landed on his back and, ( maybe I had watched Indiana Jones too much at this point) I drily informed him he had grass on his tooth. He became distressed and hit my hand away when I extended my finger forward, trying to get the single blade of green. I always thought he was a genius with his drawings and little movies he made with an old VHS camera. “Roadkill. Yum!” featured my sister Malinda and Mike eating roadkill in the middle of the road with plastic forks from Spurgeon’s Corner with ketchup on them. Then there’s the classic “Bite my WAD!” with Blake doing one of his many hilarious characters. He even once edited together a short film inspired by Young Guns. Using his brother Nat, he cut together scenes and placed music over it. Though not to forget his own Mike’s World episode based off Wayne’s World, which was amazing as a kid, and still hilarious today.
Blake, younger brother of Brian, was a bully of sorts that always wanted to hurt you or do something rotten. Unfortunately for Blake he got picked on more than most for the way he was. I doubt it was deserved but maybe it was a balance for him. Either way he is a very sweet guy even if he’s a bit short-bus still. He’s more of a private guy than most sometimes, but he loves to have a good time. He knows how to party, fish, hunt, squeeze you tighter than you’ve ever been squeezed in your life when he hugs you, but he’s also the guy most likely to stop to help someone that looks to need it. I believe some men are hard for others to judge, accept or just comprehend, and since they don’t fit into the current society they are more than likely dismissed before being appreciated. I believe my cousin Blake is one of these men.
Last on the list of the “boys” is Nat – a child’s John Wayne. Looking back he was the Peyton Manning of role models, the “good” guy or “nice” cousin. He was my hero growing up. He knew everything and always had a way to explain any question. He even taught me how to play basketball. I remember the day he told me to stand under the basket so I would actually have a chance to make a shot – and I did, eventually. I always wanted to play basketball on a team with him. When I got out of the Air Force I played in a tournament on his all-star team that I didn’t deserved to be playing on, but it didn’t matter. It was like having the honor of playing basketball with Michael Jordan, or for me John Stockton (You know, a team player that is respectable and finds strengths in others and not some cocky ball-hog that sold out more than Zhu Zhu Pets). Recently we’ve been in the talks of our return to the courts, it’s been some years but it’s time to really show some folks how to play ball. I’m a Hoosier and I am forever in love with playing basketball – are these things connected? I don’t know. Recently I watched ESPN’s 30 for 30 Bo Jackson doc and realized that was how I viewed my cousin Nat as a child. Nat played baseball, basketball and was the most athletic person I knew. I know that when I didn’t know something I probably always thought, “Nat knows.”
I just thought these memories should accompany this great photo. I know they are the memories that come back when I sit and stare at the characters at those pumps. The best cousins ever, I love them all.
10 thoughts on ““Characters at the Pumps” Insight”
You have an amazing way with words,brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful tribute, well done
Thank you, Mother dear.
You will notice a comment from Caliber Winfield below. He is the writing colleague I have spoken of. Such an interesting mind. He sometimes mistakes my wonder of his imagination as if I’m dismissing it as ignorance just because I say it is something I could never write. He also seems to have figured me out quicker than most though, yet he has never met me and thus he is so very interested in knowing if I’m real. So, be prepared when he starts bombarding you with questions. Hell, he already came onto Brianna while discussing a fb photo of me and knowing it was my cousin only made him persist, even going so far as to try and convince me why it would be so great for him to hook up with my cousin as it would benefit us both. I didn’t dare tell him she lived in the same state as him, especially not the same city. I mean Seattle is a big place I’m sure, but I’m also not so sure everyone is from Seattle when they say they are from Seattle. You know what I mean, Vern?
Haha, well, I wouldn’t say I came on to her. That makes me sound like some creep in a 70’s film, or a sexually harassing boss from an 80’s sitcom. I mean, I did come on to her, sure, but I like to say that I attempted to start a digital courtship, it makes me sound far less like Joey Badafuco. I actually found out she lived about 50-60 miles from me shortly after, and found that to be a pretty amazing coincidence.
E says there is no such thing as coincidence.
*strokes beard like Pai Mei* Then I’ll see you at the next family reunion!
The way you wrote this, makes me think of the end of stand by me or sandlot, or any movie with a narrative about the characters. I love the title “characters at the pumps”, and I love that this moment was caught in a photo. Thanks for bringing it to life from your eyes.
Thanks cuz, and you know that now since I have been exposed to Stephen King in such a way with E, I keep noticing a lot of similarities in my work with his material that I’ve never even seen before. So for him to have already written as great of a story as Stand by Me, it obviously has influenced me I’m sure without being consciously aware. At least not until now. I look at E’s Stephen King bookshelf and just sit in amazement of what Stephen King has done and how much influence that has had on the world.
Though there is an uncanny resemblance to my ideas with his without being the same but I suppose “All Things Serve the Beam”
Seriously, every time I see that photo I’m in amazement, because it’s so authentic that it doesn’t look authentic, you know? That type of organic “life” moment has been sanitized & packaged for the masses so many times that you see this photo and think “no way that’s real”. But it is. Good to get the back story.
Also, why don’t you come back to facebook, big homie? I checked it out, and facebook is not part of the Illuminati, nor does it fund anything “pig” related. I got a brand new facebook because too many people had mine, so my current is VIP members only, and it’s sleek. I wanted you onboard but you dashed. Who am I to ask about 70’s films if you’re not around? Who am I suppose to tell when I read someone’s comment about how QT is extremely over-rated and has made the same film over and over for 10+ years if you’re not around? Consider a comeback. Everybody loves a comeback.
Another aspect I find very interesting about the photo is that I had taken it for granted. Seeing as it was my mother who took it, we always had it in our collection of photos. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate it but I have been rather impressed with the amount of comments and overall reaction it seems to get. So it was only those comments that continued to make more of the photo to me and I felt compelled to write my feelings on it. Though I swear we had many good photos like those and stories for days.
I really appreciated hearing from E the response from certain individuals of their unhappiness of my removal of myself from fb. Trust me, I enjoyed my interactions with most of my friends on fb, especially since I am not much on frauds and don’t usually associate with them, which eliminates the majority for me. However it isn’t that easy when it comes to family I suppose or to just to be brutally honest with ya, all yall. Always some bad eggs and certain friends morph into more of a caricature of themselves after years. So instead of hurting anyone in particular or picking individuals out like most others sometimes brag about on their accounts, I just decided to remove myself. I never could understand why Caliber Winfield allowed certain people on his account at times. Just plain old haters, obviously so sad and leading such a hopeless life that they were always putting you down. Now I understand how old friends are but there comes a point where it’s time for the motherfuckers to grow up. I mean shit, I felt like defending you several times, only I didn’t feel you were actually being bothered by it so I of course never did. It’s just that kind of negativity that led to my enjoyment on fb diminishing. Now I am the master of my own domain, actually I’m not and wordpress seems to enjoy letting me know I’m not every time I go to write.
Though I surely did have high hopes that the one and only Fuj who is the NUMBER. ONE. DRAW. over at Scott Keith’s Blog of Doom! would one day make an appearance on my own site. That is, if I give it my all and put every amount of effort in my articles to be deserving of his time. It might take a few years but I could see a future of Roger Malcolm, The Fuj and Caliber Winfield as Men on Wrestling.
Roger: Now that was a 5 star match if I ever saw one.
The Fuj: That was a two, only because I’m being nice about it. Fuck it, it’s 1 and a half.
Caliber: Ladies and Gentleman, Roger has just proved he is a Vince McMahon, WWF mark that enjoys steroid cartoon characters orchestrating a scripted match for 10 minutes before becoming too blown up themselves to continue the match much longer. (insert boner comment here) Now Fuj having such a comprehensive mental capacity of WCW knowledge knows what a 5 Star match looks like. Where as Roger grew up watching Hogan, Fuj was watching the Nature Boy. Sadly knowing Hogan could never lace the boots of THE MAN Ric Flair who could wrestle sixty minutes a night, and still able to make all the ladies WOOO! all night long.
The Fuj: This guy gets it.
Haha, well, at least I’m the one talking the most. As you once said, I’m the STAR. And I’m down for Men on Wrestling, so long as I get to dress like Blaine from the Men on Football episode all the time.
Yup, that’s exactly why I created a new FB account. Too many people had my older one, and some people from my past liked to run their mouths and talk shit from time to time. Eventually I’d had enough of it. I thought about just deleting FB, but I like it has a promotional tool, plus, I occasionally make some new friendships that are worthwhile, like you and Erin. I enjoy talking to a select few, which is why my new FB account is super VIP people only, which means I have like, 10 FB friends. But I can understand not wanting to be on FB. However, you are missing out on some great stuff, I’m complaining a lot, so you know, there’s that. You know, just for future reference, Roger Malcolm may not have a FB, but Richard Bachman could *wink wink*