Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jimmy's Stars (copy)

It was a crisp September morning when I had the uncontrollable urge to pop Victoria. I had truly had enough. Enough of the “my brothers are all Marines,” or “the real fighting is in the Pacific,” or “I bet one of my brothers did something heroic today.”

Yeah, yeah, the big blabber mouth, but then she turns to me and calls my brother a slacker! What! My brother is no slacker. Jimmy is a hero. When dad broke his leg, Jimmy stepped in and began to deliver the mail. It was our family’s only income, and Jimmy never missed a beat.

Being a blabber mouth, Victoria had no idea when to stop. She got all snobby and said, “Well, your dad’s been back to work for three months. I call that a S – L – A – K -…” I didn’t let her finish the spelling bee. I shut her up with a right to the source of blab, but missed and got the corner of her eye and nose instead.

In the long run, I got it back two-fold. See, Victoria is a rather big girl who can carry her weight with four older brothers. I don’t know what I was thinking other than she was wrong. Jimmy didn’t need some stinking war to prove his bravery. He is, and will always be, my hero.

It gave me a little secret pleasure knowing Victoria would have to walk around with a shiner like mine. I hope she saw stars. Four stars to be exact. One for every brother in the service, like the service flags that sprung up after Pearl Harbor.

Although, these stars kind of give me the creeps. You know the blue stars for each member serving in the forces and gold for those whom will not return, I consider them bad luck. I have a little routine I do when passing a flag hanging in a window or on a porch. I like to cross my fingers and spit in the gutter; although, my mother would die of shame if she saw me.

I was right about the bad luck. When I got back home, in the mailbox was an official letter from the Selective Service for a Mr. James Armstrong McKelvey. Jimmy was being drafted, and I had no say.

Author Mary Ann Rodman has written a timeless character in Ellie McKelvey. This 11-year-old gives an honest, through the eyes of one figuring it out, look into World War II. From the title, Jimmy’s Stars, one may guess the ending will require tissues.

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