Pasqual was always an extremely hard worker; he would always be out chopping wood, hunting for food, working with the cowboys in our village, driving tractors with our dad or working out in the fields. Even at the young age of 10 or 11, he would work alongside full-grown men in our village as an equal. Pasqual worked hard to provide for our family and there were even times when he was basically our family's sole provider.
However, when Pasqual wasn't doing all of those extremely responsible things, he'd usually be getting himself into trouble or acting like a complete idiot. He liked to pick fights with everyone. Pasqual was obnoxiously fearless. He loved to prank people, especially my oldest brother, my sister and even our mom. He loved, loved, loved to get in people's faces and annoy the heck out of them.
Pasqual was really quick, he'd come in like a Tasmanian devil, wreaking havoc for a few minutes until you were angry enough to fight back, then he'd jump through a window, or onto the roof for a quick getaway. He relished in other people's anger.
My three brothers, my sister and I spent a lot of time at home unsupervised. It's really a wonder we made it through unscathed. We had more tolerance for each other, but our mom was easily annoyed by Pasqual's antics. Pasqual, after all, was always coming up with new and creative ways to be obnoxious.
One day my mom was in the middle of what we called "her mean sweep". The Mean Sweep occurred whenever our house was dirty (which it always was) and when no one had sprung into action after her repeated instructions to clean. She would angrily sweep through the entire house push anything and everything in her path into a big pile by the front door. She didn't care if there was a blanket or a pair of shoes, clothes, homework, books, anything at all that had been left on the floor would be swept into one huge pile. As soon as she started the mean sweep, there would be a frantic rush for all of us to hurry up and pick up before she got there. If you got in her way, she'd hit you with the broom and try to sweep you out too.
Although we laugh about it now, as a kid, this always made me cry. It really was not a laughing matter at the time.
There were two ends to Rosella's Mean Sweeps: Either she gave us a chance to pick up everything out of the giant pile by the front door (usually with the door wide open, in case she wanted to sweep it all the way outside) OR she would pick up everything herself and angrily throw it into the garbage. We would have to wait until she calmed down later to quietly pick our shoes and clothes out of the garbage.
The main part of our house was one large room, the kitchen led into the living room and we had a couple of big pieces of furniture taking up most of the space. We had a big dining room table, a couch and a bed, all of which were always cluttered and messy.
On this particular day, everyone was already upset because mom was doing her mean sweep through the house, and Pasqual had refused to help. Instead he chose to antagonize my mom. I don't remember exactly what he did to annoy her, but she ignored him at first. Pasqual, however, was relentless. Finally, she swatted at him and he quickly jumped away from her to avoid the slap. You could almost see the lightbulb go off in his head as he came up with a new idea. He jumped again and said "Look mom, I'm a deer!"
Our mom was FURIOUS. She was already mad to the point of doing the Mean Sweep, add in Pasqual intentionally mocking her, and she absolutely lost it. He continued prancing around our kitchen table, disregarding my mom, who by now was shrieking at the top of her lungs for him to cut it out and clean up, but he calmly replied "I can't. I'm a deer." as he stopped to check his surroundings, perfectly mimicking the movements of a deer.
My oldest brother and sister were both mad and were yelling for him to stop acting like an idiot and help us clean. My mom, who usually couldn't be distracted from her mean sweep got so angry she started chasing him around with her broom.
Pasqual completely undisturbed by the shrieking and the yelling,
continued to take great, big, prancing leaps all over the house while proclaiming, "I'm a deer, I'm a deer!" He jumped from the couch to the bed and around the kitchen table as if completely unaware that Rosella was chasing him with a broom.
With big, confident leaps, he managed to evade my mom's broom again and again as she chased him around the house. She was getting angrier with each wild swing of her broom, but Pasqual remained calm and unconcerned with her, as if unaware she were chasing him. He was in full character. He was a deer.
My mom tried to anticipate his jumps and kept swatting at him with the broom and each time she missed she manages to knock something over. She finally started to gain on him, so Pasqual started to make his exit. He announced "I'm a deer." one more time as he effortlessly leaped just out of her reach.
Pasqual gracefully headed for the open door, my mom, now sweating, with her hair flying everywhere, wildly ran after him as she realized he was about to escape her wrath.
Pasqual took one final flying leap, and much to everyone's surprise, hit his head on the doorjamb and came crashing down to the floor. Pasqual laid flat and unmoving for a few seconds as the room errupted in laughter.
Although we laughed, we still rushed over to make sure he was okay. Everyone that is, except for Rosella. She was still filled with burning fury so she yelled, "OH! SO YOU WANNA BE A DEER HUH?!" as she smacked him over and over as he laid on the floor.
I had always remembered my mom hitting Pasqual with the broom, but according to him, she threw the broom at him, then picked up a shoe and repeatedly hit him with it while yelling about him being a deer. He says he was too dizzy to get up at the time, so he curled up in a ball until he could collect himself, then jumped up and ran out of the house.
We're pretty sure that he gave himself a concussion, but we'll never know for sure. Rosella was too mad to even look at his forehead.
Later, when we asked him what happened, he simply replied, "I miscalculated the jump."
This little stunt earned my brother the nickname, E"-pac g m-kua" which translates to, "Broke Your Head".
It's been twenty or so years since that chaotic day, and from time to time my siblings and I still tease him about it.
This is what I sent him this year on his birthday:
Anytime we talk about it, Pasqual will shake his head and say with a smile, "Yeah, I tell people, those were the days before CPS."