My mother always said that my younger brother and I would be close when we got older. She based this decision on the fact that when we were young we fought constantly. That turned out not to be true. We hardly ever speak, and we never see each other, even during the holidays.

When we were younger my brother and I and a group of our friends started building a tree house in the woods several miles from home. Now this was one neat tree house. We started the construction during the summer months between school years and it pretty much took all summer to complete. The tree house was next to a canal and a golf course, and we could watch the golfers as they played two of the holes on the course.  I cannot remember which two hole they were.

The tree house was nice even Tarzan would have appreciated this home in the trees. But after what happened, we never went back and I heard that some homeless people took up residency. I cannot blame them. I would have lived there. Now that, I think about it, maybe we were the first Habitat for Humanity group.

We chose a towering oak tree that had large limbs that allowed us to build multileveled rooms with stairs to several floors. When we finally completed the tree house it had four rooms. We were proud of what we had completed. I should say almost completely. We were working on the last room when the incident happened between my brother and I.

It was the month of August and we were only two weeks away from starting school. For whatever reason my dad told my brother and I that we could not take the hatchet to the woods that day. We argued with him back and forth for some time until he finally put his foot down and said that was enough. We could either go to the woods without the hatchet or stay home.

Well, being the boys we were, we left the house, then came back, got the hatchet, and took it to the woods anyway. Several hours later while we were working on our tree house my brother and I got into a huge disagreement. He needed the hatchet to cut down some additional trees, and I was using it. I did not feel like giving it up and kept pushing him away, telling him to look for some other way to complete his work. It was not long our argument escalated into one of our usual knockdown drag out fights, which get physical at times. Did you read story about the hoe and the shovel?

To this day, I still think my brother accidentally did this, but one of my friends swears up and down that it was intentional. I had set the hatchet down and had turned to walk away from the tree that I was working on. My brother reached over and picked up the hatchet raising it up and swinging it down striking the front of my right foot. At first, I thought that my shoe had stopped the hatchet from reaching my toes, but then the shoe began to turn red and I knew I was hurt.

I remember looking at my brother with one of these shocked looks on my face of, “On no you didn’t,” and he was starring at me with this “I can’t believe I did that.” look.

Our parents were leaving that afternoon to drive to lake Charles, LA, so we had to get home before they left to tell them what had happened. Harold jumped on his bike and tore off as if he had seen a ghost. I remember yelling at him that he had to get there before they left. Two of our friends went with him. I jumped on my bike and rode toward home, as well.

Harold reached the house just as mom and dad was getting into the car. I’m glad he had to tell them what happened. I arrived a few minutes later to a dad that was ready to eat nails, and a mother that was worried to death about one of her little boys.

When we reached the hospital and the doctor took off my shoe while I told him all about how this happened, the doc laughed until sometimes he had to stop working on my foot. He thought the whole thing was hilarious. My dad, well, he wasn’t laughing at all and said I would not be laughing when he got me home.

Lucky it did not cut any tendons or blood vessel, so it did not bleed that much. I have one lousy scare from the experience.

My brother never told me sorry for what he did. Maybe he did mean to do it.

Our dad grounded us never to go back to the tree house. Our friends informed us that not long after school started that some homeless people move into the tree house. They found all the building material we had left and completed the house and that it looked fantastic. Habitat for Humanity was born long ago.