Bruce has a song on the terrific Nebraska record that has a chorus:
"Nothing feels better than blood on blood."
Another lyric states:
"Man turns his back on his family; well he just ain't no good."
I thought about that a lot this week as we hosted a visitor.
My nephew Johnny made the trip to our home so that he could spend time with his cousin, and best buddy, Sam.
He also hung around with Matt, Jake and Jake's ever-present buddy Quinn.
In fact, it all started a little shaky as I got up for work on Wednesday morning. I lead the entourage of dogs into the living room where Johnny, Sam and Quinn sat watching an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
"Morning sunshine," Johnny said.
It was 5:30 in the morning!
"Why are you idiots up?" I asked.
"We just woke up," Sam offered.
But, of course, I knew better. They were coming off a night of video games, television shows and laughter.
I returned home about 14 hours later.
Sam and Johnny were shooting hoops in the driveway.
"I'm ready to block your shot, old man," Johnny said.
I could hardly walk over to him.
He tossed me the ball.
I tried to stretch as I brought the ball up.
I moved to my favorite spot on the court and really concentrated, nailing the 15-footer.
"All day," I said.
Johnny approached me.
He's nearly 6-feet tall already.
"I can block your shot," he said.
"I can't move," I protested.
(My legs were barking!).
But I dribbled and turned my back to him.
"My shot can't be blocked," I taunted.
He went for it, but I took a couple of huge steps backwards and shot the ball over his outstretched hand, bouncing it off the rim.
We repeated the action about 4 more times and even though I wasn't jumping and certainly wasn't running, my two steps back allowed me to get the ball over him.
He had no idea that I had perfected my fadeaway 30 years earlier as I tried to beat his Dad in a one-on-one.
Jeff had unbelievably long arms and the only way I could shoot over him was by stepping back.
"I can't block it!" Johnny yelled.
Sam took it all in, laughing.
"Come on...one-on-one," Johnny tried.
"I can't play a game," I said.
"We'll get you a wheelchair," he chided.
And back and forth we went.
I had taken my five shots...I was heading to the house...I scooped the ball up and brought it back to take one final shot and Johnny lunged at me.
He got the ball with the tip of his index finger.
"I blocked it! I blocked it! The shot that can't be blocked was blocked!"
I stumbled towards the house as he taunted me the entire way.
That was the first day!
The boys were thick as thieves.
"It's awesome that they're so close," Kathy said as we watched them head off into their rooms with fistfuls of chicken fingers.
Nothing feels better than blood on blood.
(He barely got a finger on the shot!)
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