My brother Lonnie was 12 years older than I was. I don’t remember him being around much when I was young, but I remember this car he had when I was very young. I watched our dad and him work on it. Then, dad helped him paint it. They painted it a two-tone, teal green and white. Lonnie took me on a ride in that car when I was about 5 years old. Boy, was I standing in high cotton! We went to see some of his friends. I think we were just showing off his car. It was cool!
Lonnie could fix anything. He was a very good mechanic, somewhat of a plumber, an electrician, and a parts man. As a child, he spent a lot of time with our dad.
He learned a lot of his trade while working alongside of him. What amazed me most was that Lonnie could fix my transmission in my old Ford Fairlane. Seems he fixed it a lot!
Lonnie started working at a very young age as a parts man at a local tractor company, and he later worked at the PPG maintenance department until he retired.
Lonnie knew a little bit of everything. He could talk about almost any subject. He had our mother’s love of fishing. After he bought a boat, he became very serious about fishing. Later, he got a bigger boat for Lake Erie. I always enjoyed going to the lake to visit him there. Fishing with him as always an adventure.
You never knew where you would end up, or how long you would be gone. Later, Lonnie and I would drive up to the lake together. That’s when I got to know him best. We both had the love of an adventure. We had stories of lost gold, meteorite hunting, or just driving off the path to see where we would end up. Lonnie always seemed to be making something or buying something to fix. So, at his home, there was always something going on.
One time I bought some gold concentrate from a gold mine in the Yukon. Lonnie and I were sitting on this log bench he had made in the back yard at his home. We panned this gold concentrate to see what we would end up with. We did this for hours. It was a lot of fun. Plus, we were sort of loud. Several days later, one of our neighbors asked me what the heck we were doing. I advised him that we were panning gold. My neighbor looked at me and shook his head. Then, he said that out of you guys, that did not surprise him. I certainly enjoyed the days I got to spend with my brother. Being 12 years apart, I missed several years being around him.
I cherish the days we spent together. Unfortunately, Lonnie was taken from us way too soon. The loss of my brother hit me very hard. After both of our parents had passed away, I counted on Lonnie for a lot of support. He was my rock. I look back at some of the stuff we did and smile. When I do something a little cantankerous, I would say that I just had a “Lonnie moment.” Our family has always had a strong relationship. We all tried to be there for one another no matter how far apart we lived, which is something you just cannot replace. I still miss him very much. I know that dad and Lonnie are working on an old tractor in Heaven.
Loren Pool is a retired Delaware County deputy sheriff.