Slim Eagle AKA Tommy

March 30, 1955- June 30 2007 8:30 am

I’m dedicating this essay to my devoted wife for the sacrifices she made in allowing me to spend the last few months with my loving brother. 

          I lost a big piece of my life when my brother passed away.   I’m waiting daily for the phone to ring and that loving voice on the other end saying “hey bro, it’s meeee your brotherrrr” My down syndrome brother had the mental development of a ten to twelve year old and the social development better than most people I know.  He had holes between the chambers of his heart which caused the heart to work overtime. The doctors decided to fix that when he was about twenty five years old. They managed to patch the holes but that was before blood was being checked for pathogens and he contacted hepatitis C. His heart worked too hard before it was repaired and he still had an enlarged heart which lead to congestive heart failure and the hepatitis attacked his liver and that’s what took him from us.

          As a kid the boy was a little demon with a twinkle in his eye and the desire to live life to its fullest. We couldn’t turn our backs on the little rascal or he would be gone in a flash. One time when he was about six years old he managed to slip away undetected and the whole neighbor, the sheriffs  and fire departments spent eight hours searching for him only to find him less than a mile away asleep in a ditch. When he was a little older he snuck out and rode his bike to our aunt and uncles house twenty miles away. Oh, then there was time he decided to visit a friend in southern California . He took the busses through Sacramento and made to the airport and was trying to get on a plane before someone figured out that something might be amiss, he accomplished all this with no money in his pockets.

          When I started Cowboy Shooting he came with me. He was well known at many annual shoots around California and Nevada . At that time I was known as Red Dog, but Tommy decided that he should be Red Dog and I would have to fine a new name. He got a new name at the great High Sierra shootout many years ago. He was closing up the Gouge Eye bar, which he did frequently, where he was enjoying a soda, peanuts and a friendly card game and came back to camp with a pocket full of peanuts. The camp was asleep as he always was the last to come home from any party that he found. The next morning we found a pile of peanut shells next to his bed roll. This was also a time before fifth wheels and trailers so we had a portable shower set up in our camp which he refused to use and by the end of this trip he had a new handle that would stick with him for the rest of his life. He never appreciated being called Stinky Chipmunk but the name fit him so well. He had changed his name so many times through out his travels with me that folks would ask him when we arrived to a shoot “Ok Tommy what are we calling you this time”.

          We spent the last 9 months of his life together and it was a truly awesome experience. BeeBad took an assignment in the Sacramento area and I spent my days hanging out with my bro so my sister who was his primary care provider could work. He had very few bad days and was never in any great pain. He slipped into a coma a couple of days before he passed and never knew how sick he really was. Tommy (Slim Eagle) touched everyone’s life that he came in contact with. Some how he just made you a better person when he was near you. I will miss him forever and we were blessed to have him in our lives. I guess the hole in my heart will slowly mend but it is going to take a very long time.

Jasper                                                                                                                                                                      

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