Page 4 of 4   <      

When History, Destiny Converged

"He's several bubbles off plumb," her husband piped in from the recliner.

"He encroached on me personally," Sarah Brady said. "I feel like he changed our life drastically enough that he encroached on our life for 25 years. I mean, we've had to live with the aftermath of it. . . . And now, when you think he could be walking into one of our favorite haunts and we'd run into him, it's like he's sort of encroaching on us going to Williamsburg now."

But the Bradys don't talk much about destiny, and they are not bitter people. "That wouldn't be classy," Jim Brady often jokes.

Instead, the couple made the best of things. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which they championed for a decade and President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1993, is one of their greatest accomplishments. For the first time, prospective buyers of handguns had a five-day waiting period and had to pass a criminal background check.

"It used to be the dog and pony show when we'd go around the country talking. I would do the straight stuff," Sarah Brady said, "and I never knew what he would come up with. I did notice if I didn't feed him dinner beforehand, he'd do better because he was madder at me. He says I never feed him. And he also says he doesn't get any sleep."

"He doesn't sleep!" Jim Brady repeated from the recliner. His wife ignored him. "I hate to tell you, but he doesn't get up till noon most days," she said dryly.

In their beachfront home, shared with two dogs and two cats, they are happy, they said. Next week, they are going to an autism ball at the local hospital. Their son, Scott, now 27 and a sound engineer, lives south of Charlottesville and visits often. They have lots of friends. Life didn't turn out the way they thought it would, but they made a whole different life.

"When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade," Jim Brady said. "I have several stands around here."


<             4

© 2006 The Washington Post Company