Friday, April 14, 2017

Big Brother

My brother had a birthday this week. I'm so busy with my own family of four kids these days that I didn't get a chance to be with him on his birthday. Oh, I called and my family sang him a horribly off-key rendition of "Happy Birthday," but I wish I could do more to show him how much he's meant to me. Maybe this will be a start.

My brother showed me how to be a friend. Even though he was four years older than me, he let his annoying little brother follow him around. (It probably helped that we lived in a town so small that there weren't many kids his age for him to play with, but I really don't think that would have mattered much.)

Here the two of us are posing in front of a tree on Arbor Day. (I think.)
He taught me how to burp.

He helped instill in me a love for sports. We've watched, played, and talked about many a game over the years.

He taught me how to lose gracefully-ish. (Because it was very rare that I would ever beat him at anything.)

Wrestling with my brother. (I'm the one in a headlock.)
He taught me the joy of victory. (Because the one time I actually did beat him in one-on-one basketball still stands as one of the greatest athletic achievements of my life! We played a game to 60, and I got red-hot on a little running hook shot. It was the only shot I could consistently get off that he couldn't block. It was a glorious win!) (I don't think he let me beat him....)

He has always been a great example to me.

Didn't I just say he was a great example? So why isn't he wearing a life jacket?
He taught me that burps are funny.

He greatly influenced my taste in music when he purchased those 8-track tapes of the Electric Light Orchestra, Queen, and Styx. (Even though he now seems to prefer listening to country music. Country music? Really???)

He helped mold my sense of humor into the warped lunacy that it is today.
Here we are with my sister. She's pretty darn awesome, too!
(Gee, we sure took a lot of pictures on Arbor Day, didn't we?)
He was a rock and steadying force for me when my parents got divorced while I was away serving as a Mormon missionary.

He showed me how to be a good husband and a good father.

My brother on his wedding day. (And me auditioning for Napoleon Dynamite.)
While I drifted through life as an aimless single adult, he and his wonderful wife took me in (figuratively, and often literally) and gave me family I could love.

Since my Dad passed away shortly before I got married, he has filled the double role of being an uncle and a substitute grandpa to my kids. In fact, he showers my kids with so much love that they know him by two different names, Uncle John and Uncle Baby-Hog.

He's always there when I need him. (Even though I sometimes take him for granted.)

He taught me how to say the alphabet while I burp.

He was, is, and always will be a wonderful brother.

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