Ask yourself: Does someone have YOUR back?

By CLARK HICKS,

Does someone have your back? A person to watch over you, help you when your under attack and defend you when you need help the most?

If so, consider yourself fortunate. There are few things in life more valuable than a trusted friend to count on, no matter the circumstances.

My brother recently reminded me of a day in 1978 when he first realized his older brother (me) would never fail him.

One cold morning, we were at McComb’s Otken Elementary Shool, waiting to ride bus No. 38 to our respective grade schools.

At that time, integration caused an abundance of school buildings, so public school kids attended separate locations for each grade.

While we waited to hear a honk for all clear to load, my brother came running up to me in tears.

He told me that a mean girl had stolen his beloved Stretch Armstrong, a Herculean blond-haired doll whose arms and legs could stretch the length of a coffee table.

I knew what that rubber creature meant to him.

He once stabbed the thing with a butcher knife to examine its magical organs, only to learn Mr. Stretch contained nothing more than a gooey, strawberry-colored gel filling.

Upon realizing his mistake, my brother carefully patched the wound with a permanent adhesive and began referring to his little playmate as a “war hero.”

So when brother Matt said a classmate had absconded with his Silver Star medal recipient, I knew to go into action.

I asked my brother to take me to the little thief, and when I demanded to know what she did with Stretch, she shrugged her shoulders and held up her Scooby Doo lunch box, as though I could be easily fooled.

Not deterred, I starting foraging through her overstuffed satchel (before the days of L.L. Bean nylon backpacks).

Sure enough, under her spiral Mead notebook, there laid my brother’s property, which I snatched by the right arm while the girl pulled back on the elastic left arm. Unfortunately, that’s when the situation changed dramatically.

Within seconds, I felt someone on my back, scratching my skin and pulling my hair.

Like a wild animal trying to escape its prey, I twisted and flailed to rid myself of the girl’s much older and bigger sister.

While this was happening, my brother stood motionless, mouth wide open to what he witnessed.

Fortunately, the altercation was short lived, I ended up with a deformed super hero, and bus No. 38 was ready to roll.

We went on to school that day and “Steroids Man” remained in our household until our rambunctious dog chewed him to bits like a buzzard on a kill.

To this day, so says my brother, he thinks back on that brief moment in time when he saw someone literally defend him.

I reacted like most siblings would, but had no idea then how much one gesture could impact another person. I think all of us should hope for relationships with others who have our backs and us theirs.

Who would have thought that a tug of war with a Hasbro manufactured action figure would help bond brothers for life?

I may have paid a small price for being beaten by a stranger’s sister, but I unknowingly bought a defender for life.

Yep, I have his back, and he has mine.

Clark Hicks is a lawyer who lives in Hattiesburg.  His e-mail is clark@hicksattorneys.com