Wednesday, March 19, 2008

They Say It's Your Birthday....

What must it be like to be a fourteen-year-old boy, having survived your early teens with two sisters only to find out your mother is pregnant! Small children see only the wonder of their mother’s growing belly and the prospect of a new playmate. A teen, however, KNOWS how mom got that way. In my mom’s case, I was told it was a deadly combination of a Knights of Columbus convention and the rhythm method. Or maybe that was my younger sister. Either way, at 38 my mom delivered me unto the world. And Greg’s life has never been the same.

I remember it was hell to wake him up. Once when I was about six, my big sister Carol and I couldn’t wake him so we dribbled water on him then put ice on his chest. When that failed, we tickled him with a feather, ANYTHING to rouse him. Disturbed just enough, his arm swung out to stop the nuisance he didn't know was his sisters and I took it in the stomach. He never woke up and I learned to move much faster. Tell him to be up at three in the morning to go fishing, however, and he’d beat you to the truck.

I learned a lot from my big brother. When I called my best friend in kindergarten a “little fart”, an endearment I learned from Greg when he would toss me in the air, I learned that my Mom told him he'd be in BIG trouble if I ever repeated that...and she was right! He taught me how to hold his full coffee cup steady while riding next to him in the truck on a road trip. You hold your arm a little loose and let it bounce as the truck goes down the road. This skill is no longer required in a world of “travel mugs” but I was very useful as a child. I also learned not to EVER wash the cup.

My brother is a spring baby, born on the Vernal Equinox. This week, he has a huge milestone birthday, so huge I can hardly count that high. He’s a man’s man. He owns a tractor; actually, he has LOTS of them. He hunts and fishes (or at least he used to). He smokes cigars and drinks coffee out of a cup glossed brown from the caffeine. He broke his neck at 17 when he rolled his beach buggy on Santa Cruz beach. As an adult, he was thrown from his horse when some kids tossed a firecracker. He was on a freeway overpass and was damn lucky to not be thrown over the railing. He is one tough cookie. He would have to be. My parents had one more child after me making Greg big brother to four younger sisters; Val just 13 months younger, Carol, five years later then, we two "whoops" babies. The picture of my family is pre-Katie with me in my mom’s lap. Greg was never a bully or a tease…well, maybe there was a little teasing. He is a kind, gentle man. If you piss him off big time, you’re nothing more than a “horse’s ass”. He reminds me of my dad. He gives big hugs so I’m sorry he’s all the way in Idaho. Happy Birthday big brother. I miss you.

1 comment:

Michell Heath said...

Thank you so much for the little walk down memory lane. Dad hasn't changed---his coffee cup!! Quenton is growing up to be just like Papa. I'm so proud because he is the most loving, giving and yet private man I've ever known. He shows it everyday in all he does. Happy Birthday Daddy. Love you all oodles! Michell