a funny thing happened on the way to my life….

The Other Birthday Brother

It’s my other brother’s birthday and I’m all smiles.  I asked my sister to find some photos of our brother for his birthday blog and this one stole my heart.  Look at that toothless grin, HUGE ball cap (did you borrow that from Dad?) accompanied by a tiny body, lefty baseball stance, and sporting a look of sheer determination!    And you were way ahead of your time with that stylish flat bill…LOL!  Under that hat I imagine that you’re sporting the same haircut you run around with today and that’s one of the things I love about you…you always know what works for you!  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I wish I could remember you when you were little, but I was little too and so we’ll have to go with what I’ve been told…brace yourself.  According to unnamed sources (our Mom), I loved to give you a bottle.  Somewhere I must have learned that happy babies are well-fed babies and so you were constantly having milk shoved in your direction.  As the story goes, it didn’t really matter if you needed or wanted your bottle, whether you were crying or not, I seemed to know what was best for you and as your older sister I decided that was milk.  So, I was a dairy pusher in your early days but don’t worry, you had your revenge later in life when you decided to dump a bowl of melted ice cream on my head immediately after my bath.  Yuck, and it was chocolate almond.

I remember when your tiny hand was all burned from hot coffee and the photo that exists somewhere of you on a picnic table sporting a sweater and a diaper with your paw all bandaged up.  You were small and cute and yes, other fun photos of you exist with your red-tinged hair!  Most of my childhood memories involve you and our youngest brother together.  You were each other’s best friend and worst enemy.  When you added in the neighborhood crew…well, the adventures never stopped.  There were many years of toy trucks, baseball, football, BMX bikes, basketball, track, lawn mowing, weightlifting, and even one season of soccer.  There were so many good times and it seems like only yesterday when we would all stay up late, watching Nick at Nite and playing monopoly for hours in the basement of our parent’s house.

Today, I tell my kids stories about you and our other siblings, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever shared two of my all-time favorite stories about you and I.  Interestingly, they both involve a ghetto blaster (now if that doesn’t send you way back…I don’t know what will!)  First, I remember the time when we tried to convince our little brother that he snored when he slept.  So, after he drifted off to sleep we tried to record him snoring.  But he slept silently, peacefully, and soundly.  No snoring…and I’m not sure if he really ever snored at all.  But we had a mission and the mission was to prove that he snored.  In my bedroom we secretly created a recorded a tape of our little brother sleeping–a FAKE obviously.  It started with a few grunts, groans, some snoring sounds then morphed into a symphony of noises that could only come from a barnyard.  Bogus as it was, we seemed satisfied and waited until morning to play the tape and reveal that yes, indeed our little brother was a big time snorer (not!)  I’ll never forget how much we laughed and how hard our little brother cried.  He told Mom, we were busted, forced to admit that we made it all up, and probably punished (but I tend to block those memories out!)  Ahh…good times.

My other fave story also involves the same ghetto blaster (remember how Dad carved our names into it?)  We were huge fans of the Karate Kid (I and II) and watched those movies over and over.  We were also two broke little kids who didn’t have money to purchase the movie soundtrack…yet we LOVED the Peter Cetera song The Glory of Love.  Nevermind that we were too young to understand the song, that part was irrelevant.  So determined we were to get a our own copy of this beloved piece of music, we decided to request it on the radio.  So, phonebook in hand my brother called the radio station and made the request.  As soon as he hung up, I called the radio station to make the same request.  This pattern repeated for at least an hour as we sat with our hot little hands on the record button waiting…and waiting….and waiting.  I’m sure the DJ was at his breaking point when the song FINALLY played.  It’s amazing what determination, concentration, hard work, dedication, and the sheer act of annoying the heck out of some poor guy who works at the radio station can do for two pesky kids on a Friday night!  Just like the Karate Kid…we were victorious!

Today is my brother’s birthday and I’m proud of the man he has become.  The qualities that I liked about him as a kid are the same qualities that I love about him today.  He is fun, hardworking, dependable, strong, reliable, honest and incredibly loyal.  He is the one who will listen, come up with a plan, and help you out of whatever kind of nonsense you’ve managed to get yourself into.  He’s a wonderful son, brother, father, uncle, son-in-law, brother-in-law, cousin and FRIEND.  Wishing you the happiest birthday ever.  YOU ARE LOVED!  BTW, I requested this song for you….

A true friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. Proverbs 17:17 NIV

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