If you are like me you are richly blessed to have at least one brother. I have done somewhat better than just having one brother – I’ve got five.
It is interesting how over our lifetime the connection we have with our brothers ebbs and flows. As a young boy my closest brother, Alan, was just 14 months older than me. Due to the closeness of our age, we shared clothes, punishments and even bedrooms. Why would we share punishments? The answer is simple, we were always with each other so when one of us caused some mischief the other one was right by his side. Think of it as guilt by association.
We were together when some of our peers thought it would be entertaining to break windows at the Kloepfer gravel pit maintenance building. Though neither of us picked up a rock we were in a group that did and as a result we got to help pay to fix the windows. Over summer vacations we were side by side as we explored our neighborhood.
We floated the irrigation canal that bordered our territory, often floating beneath the bridges on a dare. This was probably the most dangerous thing we could do because there was very little space above us. There were times when our noses were practically touching the underside of the bridge. It wouldn’t take much to get snagged on debris to the point of being totally trapped. Somehow this didn’t seem to be that much of a concern to us because we were “Brave”. As an adult I have discovered that anything I did as a young boy under the premise of bravery was stupidity.
We shared jobs, girlfriends and even neighborhood friends. One of our most important jobs was helping the owner of the Rexall Drug Store with whatever he needed done. We started out delivering flyers around town for a penny a paper, but we took some liberties that got our boss in trouble with the post office. As we delivered the flyers we found the best place to leave them was in the mailbox. We had no way of knowing that doing so could have caused our boss thousands in fines and penalties.
As we entered our early teen years and began working various jobs the closeness we once enjoyed faded. In his place I began to spend more time with friends. One of the kids I met in junior high school, John, quickly became my best friend in the world and still holds that moniker today. John did not have any brothers, but we view each other as if we were blood relatives. If I am at his mechanics shop and the phone is ringing, I answer it. Most times they think they are talking to John, but I just tell them that I am John’s brother. It is fun to see their reaction when they find out that he doesn’t have a brother. Knowing him has been one of the highlights of my life.
I remember well when my two older brothers decided they were going to buy new Honda MT-250 motorcycles. The cost back then was around $600 which was way more money than I had at the time but somehow I was able to earn the money so the three of us could all have new motorcycles. This was a few years before I had my driver’s license but I couldn’t help myself. My first ticket came when I didn’t make a full stop at an intersection because I was trying to catch up to Alan on his motorcycle. I got pulled over and was given a ticket. By the time I had to show up in court I had secured a driver’s license and the judge let me walk without penalty.
The closeness between Alan and I also faded as we both served missions. By the time I completed my service my brother was married. We rarely saw each other after that.
My three youngest brothers, Jody, Paul, and George came along in due time but when I returned from living in Los Angeles they had grown up. It was only when we were all adults that the brotherly bonds once shared were reestablished.
It is so rewarding to be able to call my brothers just to talk. A lot of times this happens when at least one of us is in the car headed to a distant destination. We sort of have an agreement that if one of us needs to hang up quickly to take another call we simply say “gotta go” and nobody gets offended. I have four sisters who are all terrific but the bond between brothers seems to take on a different importance.
I would love to see a national holiday focusing on brothers and sisters, though in reality, every day is siblings’ day. Pick up the phone and call your brother or sister.