“If you see anybody likes me tell them hi.” Larry Brockman
‘Ol Blue was his propane fueled Ford F-250 that hauled what he and Rebbecca had made to crafts fairs. Leather toothpick holders, belts with molten metal buckles, leather visor caps where you looped a bandanna through two holes and tied it around your head. Practical, affordable and all you ever had to replace was a bandanna every few years.
Larry and Rebbecca made earrings, credit card holders, cell phone cases, Round Tuits, passport cases, checkbook covers, full size notebooks where you could just insert a Big Chief tablet or drawing paper and snap it shut. It had a place for your pen, your importants and your business cards.
They traveled through Texas a million times, Tulsa, OKC, Baton Rouge, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Mississippi – you know, all those cities that were lucky enough to meet ambassadors for Eureka Springs who also knew how to make something sensible and beautiful that people wanted to buy.
They knew they’d never be rich except in the many ways they already were rich, and money wasn’t one of them. They loved where they lived and what they did.
When they were on the road they didn’t keep in touch regularly, back before cell phones were invented. But when they wanted to shake things up they would drive in from wherever they were to cook Thanksgiving dinner. When dinner was over, they drove back to be at work on Black Friday.
One time down in Texas, Houston, Rebbecca got a spider bite that was taking her down – swelling, fever, itchy and feeling awful enough she wasn’t going to make it to work in the morning if she even survived this thing.
Larry got in the truck and drove home to Beaver so he could pick some plantain from their yard. He put it in a paper sack and drove back to Rebbecca. She chewed some leaves, then applied them to her bite.
She went to work the next morning feeling great and the spider bite had vanished.
Larry’s the one who died at 3 last Friday morning, but it’s unnatural to say, “Larry.” It’s LarryandRebbecca. One word.
One night four of us were comfortable on ‘ol Blue’s bench seat driving up Butler Holler. A copperhead was just having a few minutes of R&R on the warm dirt road before slinking over to the tall grass. Larry decided the copperhead was asking for it, so he put the truck in neutral, set the brake, got out, found a .22 pistol somewhere, probably in his pocket, and shot six times.
He missed all six shots and climbed in the truck saying, “I really think we should just run it over.” The snake wriggled right into LarryandRebbecca’s Banana Field that didn’t grow bananas but was shaped like a banana.
“Becca, why’d you let that snake get away? We could’ve made snake oil.”
“I don’t think I’m the one who took six shots. From three feet away. You just drive and stop looking for snakes.” Then she’d change the subject.
Ten minutes later he said, “If you’d turned the brights on I would’ve killed it.”
“The brights were on, Larry.”
A few weeks ago Larry was sitting on the couch and Rebbecca was in the kitchen making him a tall, iced glass of juice and sparkling water. He started telling how hard he had worked all day and that the yard was beautiful because he made it so.
“You were on the mower, Larry. I pulled those deep-rooted, hard-to-yank bushes out between us and Miss French. I’m dirtier and more scratched up than someone who sat on a machine and moved the handles.”
“Well I worked hard too, I don’t think I’m getting the appreciation,” at which point she threw a lime at him that he caught with his left hand.
“Why’d you throw an avocado at me?”
And it was that way for 45 years.
Larry Brockman would pick you up before you had a chance to fall, and we’ll be telling stories about him until we get to die, too. It’s because he was aware of every moment and his time was spent with those he wanted to see.
But Larry had another party to go to.
“Only women and left-handed men are going to heaven.” Larry Brockman