My brother, Paul passed away suddenly at 59 years of age on June 17, 2008. It’s been a rough week for everyone, but we comforted each other sharing memories of him. Here are some of mine: There was the soap box he built out of spare parts and scrap wood, and the bicycle he converted into a moped using a car generator and the motor from an old chain saw. He hated picking rock in the farm fields in the spring of the year as much as I did, and he often tried to convince us girls that grasshoppers were good eating (once successfully). We shared the job of weeding the large family garden, and we both enjoyed 4-H activities, climbing the crab apple tree—and playing in the rickety tree house out back of the barn in the cow pasture.The most vivid memories I have about growing up as one of Paul’s sisters are the pranks he delighted in pulling on each of us girls. There were dozens of clever “gotchas” over the years, but one in particular stands out in my mind: Paul had figured out how to grab hold of an electric fencing wire without feeling much of the jolt (it wasn’t the weed chopper kind, but still, it packed a punch). He would grab quickly and firmly, between pulses—then he would call for one of us girls to come over, saying to me, “ Here, take my hand,” or to the younger sisters, Beverly and Theresa, “Cmon, kiss me on the cheek”, passing the shock on to us unsuspecting girls. It only worked once with each of us and he caught holy heck when we told on him, but I’m pretty sure he felt it was worth it. He was after all, every inch a farm boy.
Paul Wilkins–every inch a farm boy