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Amelia Bystry

This, that ... and the odder

My Grandpa John has a phrase he uses every time something bad happens to him; “Black Cloud Bystry.” I always thought he was just trying to be pathetic. I never believed a person actually had bad luck, but now I am convinced he has passed down his misfortune gene to my brother, Justus, whom we call “Bad Luck Bub.”

Justus has a very positive upbeat personality. He doesn’t complain often and is especially full of life. But if something bad is going to happen, it will happen to him. We started to notice it one Christmas years ago when he received several bombed gifts. 

It started with a rescue hero that had a broken arm. Justus, who was about 5 at the time, opened the gift and tried to conceal the broken arm from the gift-giver. After the giver left, my mom looked at him, and his eyes were all welled up with tears and his lip was quivering. He quickly assured my mom it was OK, and he would play with the broken toy.  

The same Christmas he also received a PowerRanger from my aunt. Power Rangers come in several colors like blue, red, green, yellow and pink. She chose the yellow. She was so excited to get the latest and the greatest gift for Justus. Unbeknownst to her, the yellow Power Ranger was a girl. Justus once again hid the fact he was devastated.  

The failed gift attempts have continued throughout the years, and they include a non-erupting volcano, two tadpoles that after nine months still had not turned into frogs and a pocketwatch that broke as he was opening the package (he also concealed this).

My poor brother has also had some bad vacation experiences. On one vacation my entire family, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents were at the Dells in Wisconsin. Everyone was staying in one big cabin. We called for the bus to transport us to the waterpark, and while on the bus, we kept counting and arguing about how many people we had. After several attempts at counting heads, it wasn’t until we got to the park that my mom got a call from my grandpa, who had stayed behind to take a nap, saying that we had all left Justus behind. No wonder the counting heads never added up. 

Then on a trip to the zoo when Justus was only about 3, he got left behind at the lions while the rest of the bunch had traveled on to see the reptiles. Then there was the time we were taking his dream trip to roller coaster city, and his head swelled up twice the size because he had hives so bad. He still rode every roller coaster there with a strained smile on his face. All I can say is those vacation pictures are quite funny.

I know some of you might be saying this can happen to anyone, but I swear he attracts bad luck. Just yesterday as I was in the middle of working on this column, my mom came home from the store and had a candy treat for everyone. Justus was looking all over for his Butterfinger bar he had requested. Everyone else had a perfect treat, but his was found melted and smashed at the bottom of the bag with the apples and orange juice.

Even though “Bad Luck Bub” has had his share of unfortunate experiences, he always has a smile on his face and a good attitude about life. The best thing about him is he laughs at himself, so we can all laugh with him. If any of this happened to any other child in our house, they would retreat to their room crying and throwing a fit, but not Justus. He just smiles.   

Amelia Bystry, 16, resides in rural Princeton. You can contact Amelia at.amelia_bystry@yahoo.com