My Brother Always Had Your Back

Note: Today marks the birthday of AMR contributor Richard Rodriguez’s late brother, Ralph. To commemorate the day, we are reposting this blog entry.

My oldest brother passed away a few years ago and I think of him often. I miss him a lot.

He was a unique person and was always there when you needed him no matter what the circumstance: car breakdowns, accidents, moving, fixing things. You name the situation, he was there for you.

The story I’m about to tell is true. Some of the names have been changed to protect the guilty, and the facts may be twisted as my memory has seen better days.

One night my friends (most of the AMR crew) were headed out to the movies when my brother got a phone call and he asked us if we could help him with a friend whose car was stuck.

We declined since we knew my brother would be able to handle it.

When we got back, my brother was still out, and my other brother was out there too.

This was serious! So off we went to help.

He was at Ferry Point Park on the Bronx side by the Whitestone Bridge. At night, it was big “make out” spot.

Our friend was not stuck in the parking lot, but had squeezed his car through the pilings and into the dark recesses of the place, and was stuck in mud.

My brother had maneuvered his vehicle back there too, and in trying to get the other car out, also got stuck.

What a situation: Our friend was there with a girl who was not his girlfriend so this demanded our utmost discretion.

This poor girl was sitting in the back of my brother’s van as we all tried to get the vehicles unstuck.

We called a tow truck.

Problem was that when it got there, it was too big to get through the barriers.

We convinced the driver to pull one of the pilings out of the ground with his wench so he could get through.

This was going to be an expensive night.

Then the cops showed up.

They couldn’t believe what we were doing, but at least they were cool about it when our friend said, hey I’m a cop.

But when they asked to see his badge he couldn’t find it. He probably dropped it in the mud trying to get his car out.

Shit. Big trouble.

The officers warned us to move the cars and get the hell out of there and be sure to put the piling back.

They didn’t want to see us there when they swung back around later.

We hopped to it.

The tow truck got the cars out, we put everything back the way it was and we made tracks.

Still no badge (he actually found it the next day), but at least everyone got to go home and none of us ended up in jail.

I guess we should have gone out to help my brother from the start since that’s what he would’ve done for us without thinking twice, ‘cause he always had your back.

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