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Love Your Mother

Love your Mother while she is with you, One day she will be gone, and My God will you miss her!


One Odd Horseshoe


Years ago, my brother Bobby was seriously injured by a horseshoe. I never knew how badly is was until years later. I wrote this story for my Family stories E book and I wanted to share the memory of our Mother Mary Regina Gallagher, a Northern girl who married a Georgia redneck and moved to Florida. She was an inspiration to a lot of people and raised some fine children, who loved her dearly. Rest in Peace Mom. We love you and miss you this Mother’s day as we know many others families are missing their Mothers as well. This is just my tribute to her strength, and courage she showed during our family emergency!


Damn I miss my Mom! I will until the day I die!!!!!


It’s not edited yet, please forgive the errors in grammar Southern education!!


One Odd Horseshoe


While in high school I rarely had much contact with my brother other than at home, he was a jock, I was a hippie, a doper, who after experiencing a life changing event became more passive than aggressive, i.e. (Harry) Thus started my decline in beating people up, and marked up swing in getting high. Mostly marijuana, although I did see several guys shoot up at a party, and I honestly was disgusted, but was drawn to the reaction they seemed to be having. That is until one of them had a little too much and ended up in the hospital, he almost died. Of course back then, we all thought all the grownups were lying to us about the dangers of drug use! Sounds familiar today as well for a teenager even after almost 40 years now, doesn’t it?


One day near the end of school, someone came up to me and asked if I heard what happened to my brother, I said, “No” thinking he got into some trouble or something! As best as I can remember, they said” he got his skull crushed in by a horse shoe”. The words did not seem real, what did they mean, I asked, they said he was in the hospital and that he was in surgery! How did they know this, and are they sure, a firm yes was all I remember. I went home as soon as possible, still not wanted to believe them, I thought it was some sort of joke! It seems as if they was one odd horse shoe, and when 4 were thrown, he bent down to pick up the shoes for his turn when the odd one hit in the head as squarely as if it had been smashed into his skull as a weapon.

I don’t remember the details except, when I got home there was a message, for me to go to the hospital, my Mother was there with Bobby and she asked me to come! I still get chills after all these years of the effects of those words on me! I am not sure if it was Becky or Kathy who was home and gave me the message, whoever it was, they were crying, as I am now in writing my memories of the event.


I remember arriving at the North end of Manatee Memorial Hospital, I already knew the room number, so it must have been in the message! I still did not understand the seriousness of the situation as I went to the room to talk to Mom and I thought I could talk to Bobby as well. As I entered the room, and seen him in the hospital bed, I fought back tears. Mom saw the look on my face, it was of shock, bobby was lying in a bed, with tubes attached, to seemingly everywhere, I V’s and a large pressure dressing on his head! I vaguely remember some blood in the very center, but that may have been a few days later!

When I then looked at Mom, I seen the fear in her eyes, she remained strong, tears formed in her eyes. They did not flow, now all these years later, I understand that she had to remain strong for us, the kids, I had to remain strong for her and the other kids. Later, I found out that he had a depressed skull fracture and that; the depression was actually a good thing. The break in the skull allowed the blood to pass through the laceration on the other side of his head and did not build up pressure inside of his skull!


About 2-3 days later I ran into the kid who threw the horse shoe that hit Bobby. I remember him being scared that I would beat him senseless. Someone had said he had bragged to his friends that he was not sorry it happened. I walked straight up to him right in the middle of all of his friends and asked what happened, he told me, it was just one odd horse shoe, and after his turn he just threw the odd horse shoe without warning! I asked if he did it on purpose, he said no! I had heard that he had actually done it on purpose, but did not think it would actually hit Bobby! There are no secrets in high school, especially a small one! I looked at him, he stood in front of me trembling, I looked him up and down, looked around at his friends. I looked him in the eyes and said something like, ”It’s a good thing you didn’t do it on purpose!” I then turned and walked away.


I was known to beat someone up for almost any reason, I fought hard, was stronger than most my size and was fast with my fists. I had read every defense book in the Palmetto High school library and practiced the different moves on my brother. I had been taken courses in Karate for a while and I learned how to use my feet almost as effectively as my fists in a short time of training. I was just plain mean, when I wanted to be! I lived to beat up people who thought they were bad, I especially disliked bullies. So when I seen people being bullyied, I would go over and I bullied them! I was very good at beating people up, people that were way bigger than me! I had mentors, Julius and Larry Pearson, both very strong and just out right mean back then, that is mean when they wanted to be, most time they were just my cousions.


They were some of the meanest and toughest young men in the area. They taught me to never be afraid, to stand and fight no matter what the odds, and that if I got my ass beat, by more than 2-3 guys then it was my own fault. I was told that if I backed down from a fight or did not defend myself, then they would kick my ass themselves, so I might as well fight the 2-3 guys. At least I had a chance with the 2-3 guys, and no I am not kidding!


I knew I could not beat Larry or Julius Pearson in a fight, fair of not! Once during a fight with Larry, I picked up a brick to hit him with, but before I could, he hit me with a broom handle across the chest so hard it broke a 1 inch thick old style broom handle in half. It knocked the breath and fight right out of me! So in my eyes, two or three guys my age and size was a piece of cake considering. Both Larry and Julius could and did on a regular basis pick up small 6 cylinder car motors and load them on the back of a truck by them self’s! So in my eyes, walking into a group of boys my age and starting a fight was just plain self-preservation, so I was not afraid of those boys whatsoever, since I thought myself a man already at the age of 16. I think we lived in the little house off of canal road near 37 st, but I am not sure when this happened.

I do not remember my Father having a part of any of this, I cannot tell you if he even went to see Bobby in the hospital, all I know it that my Mom called for me and not my Father to come! I did whatever Mom asked of me, she needed to be with Bobby constantly. Now with a little medical experience in emergencies, I know why. They were not sure he would survive at first. She never told me that, that I can remember! Later I found out they were not sure if he would have any brain damage or not, that only time would tell. Now, I know her eyes told me everything; I was just too young and inexperienced to read them.

Funny, when it is discussed at a family gathering now days, it is mostly with a dismissing of the seriousness of it.


Looking back, the look on Mary Regina Manning’s face told me everything I needed to know back then, one of her children was hurt and hurt bad and she would be at their side until they were better! There would be no, telling her, that she had to leave, she stayed by his side until he was out of danger, a danger I never knew he was in, if not for the look on her face and the tears forming in her eyes that day! I cannot remember any of the conversation, just the seriousness of it; I think Aunt Mary and Aunt Willie Mae were there as well! There were two other women I knew well near Mom, I think it was Aunt Mary who was crying when I came in, all I can remember it her infamous handkerchief moving back and forth from her lap to her face. I cannot remember their faces. It’s like I have blocked out that memory, the only clue is the white hanky! That’s Aunt Mary; she didn’t drive, so the other woman must have been Aunt Willie Mae?


Now all I can really remember is there being some issue about the insurance and who was going to pay this huge medical bill! My memory now forgets with ease the thought of losing my brother, in fact I cannot remember much more, until he was better and he was allowed to play football or some sport again!


I remember being at the football game when he single handily beat Southeast High School in the Homecoming game! He was a defensive player, I think he was on the right side defensive outside linebacker, who because of his fearlessness, his hustle and blazing speed, ended up being in the right place at the right time and ran for 2 defensive touchdowns in about 5 minutes time!


One was a fumble that bounced up right in front of him as he was running full speed towards the quarterback, he juggled that one slightly before tucking it in his arm then he just turned slightly, jogged a little to the left to avoid the running back, ran for a touchdown of about 30 yards or so!

Then less than three minutes later, the quarterback tossed a lateral to his left side, there was Bobby again, running at full speed he actually caught the lateral and ran like hell for another touchdown! I remember the quarterback being confused as hell as to where in the hell Bobby came from! No one even tried to catch him as he was one fast as hell runner, and he was hell bent on making another touchdown if he could, well he did! I knew then, he was going to be alright!


I was as proud of him as any Father could have been, except, I was not his Father, I was just his one year older brother who sometimes acted like his Father! Little did either of us know back then, I was the closest thing he had to a Father at the time!

He found examples of real manhood in his church, the Strickland family unofficially adopted bobby. They shaped and helped form him into the man he is today. As I look back, I am very proud of our Family. Most of us, turned out to be stable, hardworking, good Americans! My Mother turned a ragtag family into a prosperous, stable, group of Public Servants, a lineman trouble service expert repair man for Florida Power and light, a supervisor for Manatee county Emergency 911 communications, a Firefighter/Paramedic.

All went into a service of helping others; they had one hell of an example, Mary Regina Manning! May she rest in peace! I love you Mom.

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