Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hands Joined, Brothers Wait for a Recovery

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hands Joined, Brothers Wait for a Recovery

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

It's not often you see grown men holding hands. Especially brothers.

That's the only communication left for Don Arbo and his big brother, Ed Jr. That and Ed's hazel left eye that stares the same hard question day after day.

Four months ago, Ed Arbo Jr. was featured in this column for his 32-minute bicycle commute between his Brunswick home and his job on St. Simons Island. The column was about how Ed Arbo didn't sweat $2.99 gasoline. This one is about his most recent ride. His friends hope it was not his last.

Because there is sometimes stuff lying on the causeway bike path -- including a human being on one occasion -- he rode home at night on the edge of the right lane, just like the law allows. I had seen him after 9 p.m. Nov. 8, pedaling up the MacKay River bridge, his reflective jacket lit up in someone's headlights.

Two nights later, someone who didn't see Ed ran him down and kept driving. Fortunately, minutes later someone spotted Ed's bike, stopped and found him in the marsh, all busted up.

After lying in a coma at Southeast Georgia Health System for weeks, he has surfaced just a little. His mother, Anna Marie, sits by his bed during the day and talks to him. Don comes at night.

"He's an extremely intelligent guy. I can look behind his eyes and tell he wants to get out," Don said, their left hands clasped. Don changes the grip like they're lodge brothers going through a ritual handshake. Ed goes along with it.

Don puts Ed's Georgia Tech and Glynn Academy class rings in that left hand and Ed shifts them around in his palm until he gets them on. He earned a chemical engineering degree from Tech with a wife, three kids and a lot of jobs. He shaved his head once to make $100 playing an extra in some alien movie. The money's gone, but his hair grew back.

"Remember living at the Burge housing,'' Don asked Ed, "right across from Grant Field? …

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