Getting Ahead
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 by Frank Shortt
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A Wonderful Brother

Wendell Shortt was a quiet man! He was one of the most 'giving' individuals I have ever met. When we were boys being raised in Virginia on a hillside farm, He always put me first, unless he became thoroughly aggravated with me when I was too rambunctious.

Wendell worked too many years in a shaft mine that ran 1300 feet down into the earth and many miles back when bottom was hit. The dampness and darkness was the probable cause of extreme arthritis, much like a football quarterback who had too many hits. One of the saddest things I witnessed with my brother was the last time I visited him before his demise. I asked him to play something on the guitar, he had always been able to play Chet Atkins' style. When he attempted to play, his hands were so bent that he could not form the chords and his picking hand was useless. After several attempts he gave up in sheer helplessness. We both had tears in our eyes as he knew that he could no more master the thing he loved to do. I was even ashamed that I had asked him to play. The year following this incident, Wendell was taken from us by a blood clot that went to his brain from complications of his many hurts. Thank God he went quickly! Wendell was a veteran of the Vietnam War, a solid citizen in his community, a wonderful husband, father and grandfather who continued to put others first up until he died. He is terribly missed!
Each time Wendell and I would go
Anyplace that we would so choose
I would get excited, and so,
I'd even shine my brogan shoes.

We'd end up walking the lanes of
Raven, or sometimes to Richlands
Both had movies! "We are so suave,"
So we thought then. I did grandstands!

I was the fast walker! Wendell
Moved much slower along the street,
He'd watch me and just say, "Oh well!"
"I'll never catch up with Fleet Feet!"

Sometimes, as I unceasingly
Prattled, during pre-film strolling
I'd turn, and my brother would be
A block or two back, me thinking,

"He's been beside me from a ways!"
I'd get mad as a hornet then,
All to no avail, as those days,
Was not about changing his ken!

Suddenly, brother went forward!
I didn't want him doing this!
God wanted him to go onward,
To Heaven's happy place of bliss!
Getting Ahead