On August 25th, 1960 my parents welcomed a bundle of joy into their lives. Their first child and my only brother. He was born blue and I am so glad that he survived, for it would have been tragic to have never known all the joy he brought into our lives! I was born 10 years later on a winter’s day. 10 years may have separated us, but we were so close in our hearts. I can still see his bright smile and hear his laughter. We laughed often, him and I.
One of our favorite things to do was to wrestle with each other, he was nice enough to let me think I was getting the best of him at times. I remember one incident, where we were wrestling on top of the bunk bed in our camper. Not real smart, for I fell and hurt myself, but the injury wasn’t severe and we had fun. That’s what mattered to us. Having fun was our goal. One summer I ended up tearing his t-shirt to shreds, for wrestling was a serious job and I gave it my all. It was a old undershirt, so no big loss, and it caused us both laughter. For Christmas that year I had the perfect gift for him, his shredded t-shirt all nicely wrapped in pretty paper. The expression on his face when he opened it was priceless!
Yes we had fun times together, but I also knew as I got older, that he really cared about me and truly looked out for me. I could feel his deep love and it made me feel special and all warm inside. He was my big brother and I was so proud of him. Not only did he care about me and my sisters, he cared about people! He was always there to help whoever needed it and to touch as many lives as he could with his warm personality. Young and old alike, he just had a way of relating to them that made them each feel special. I remember him being a EMT and he took the job so seriously. He could be sound asleep when his beeper would go off and he was out of the house in an instant to go help. Some of the situations were hard for him to handle, they didn’t always end well. But he kept giving it his all. That described my brother to a T, he gave it his all in whatever he was doing.
He had the nice balance between taking life seriously and being fun and crazy. He could make people laugh so easily and at the same time they knew he was a dependable, caring guy and they could confide in him. Being spontaneous described him well. Sure, let’s hop on the motorcycle and get a 1/2 gallon of ice cream and see how many toppings we can put on it and ,” What….its gonna make me sick… Nah”! Well…yes it did! For a first trip on his motorcycle lets go from Indiana to Kansas. “What…I may be sore on a long trip like that pushed into a short time…..I may have to ride in the pouring rain, for I gotta make it in time for my sister’s wedding”. Yup, he drove in the rain and yes he was SORE. I still remember the way he walked when he got off the motorcycle 🙂 But hey it was an adventure and that is what he was always up for!
My brother welcomed me into my teen years adventure with a Ziggy card. He loved Ziggy, the card was a cartoon about being nutty and he wrote on it how we would see who was the nuttier one when he got home. He wrote, “OH NO, another teenager in the house, Look out!” I laughed and put away the card in a safe place. Would I have laughed or would I have had tears coursing down my cheek if I would have known….if I would have known that would be my last card from him ?