If you're not knitting, the terrorists win

(My mostly on-topic ramblings about knitting. And life in general. My life in specific.)

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle aged mother of 2 grown children and wife to a man who doesn't seem to mind my almost heroin-like yarn addiction. I spend my time writing, knitting, and generally stressing out.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Of Remembrances

Today is my brother’s birthday. He is gone, for quite some time now, 18 years, but I always feel his absence (and his presence) so acutely on this day.

Let me tell you about my brother. He was older than me, the middle of my three brothers. And he was awesome. You know those people who you just want to be around? They’re so much fun, so clever, so funny…? The people who just are the party? Yeah, that was my bro. I don’t think I ever heard of anyone who didn't love him.

Not kidding. People loved him. Immediately and forever.

That sort of mega-charisma has always amazed me. I’m not like that. I wouldn't even know how to begin to be like that. How do you just assume you’ll be able to do something perfectly the first time—water ski, play an instrument, impress someone? How can you be able to talk to anyone in just the right way? How can you always know how to be cool?

I ask, because I don’t know. But yeah, he knew. Hundreds of people attended his funeral. Literally.

Here are some memories:

- When I was really little, we had a garden in the backyard. Both older brothers were taking turns tilling the soil using an old fashioned non-motorized push plow. This is the kind of plow that usually had a stone on the front to weight it down. I can’t remember if there actually was a stone or not, but one of my brothers had the idea of putting me or my little brother on the handlebars of this plow for weight.

Of course, that was great fun for us so we kept insisting they give us plow rides, long after they’d decided that plan was a bad one. So, as we are plowing, we turned up a tree root. It was pointed and curved and looked something like a bull’s horn. My brother shrieked in fear and told us we had accidentally dug up the devil. My little brother and I ran into the house and didn't ask for any more plow rides, ever again.

- When my brother went away to college, he sent me fantastic letters every week. They would be cut in puzzle shapes, or written in code, or they would come in sequence over the course of days. He came home for my 8th (I think it was 8) birthday, with a huge box, wrapped in birthday paper. (In our house, using that much paper on one present was pretty much unheard of, too.) I unwrapped it to find a smaller wrapped box, which held a smaller one, which held a smaller one, etc. In the end, the small box contained a gold necklace, which I still have.

- He was such a practical joker. He used to have these parties at the house (these were non-alcohol parties, with my mom home and everything) and the house would be filled with his and my oldest bro’s friends. They’d put the stereo speakers out on the porch and on the roof and play Steppenwolf and Three Dog Night. There would be pizza with peppers—always with tons of hot peppers—and other daring food like snails and chocolate covered ants.

And there would be some prank. Like the time he and some friends propped Linda’s subcompact car up an inch off the ground so when she went to leave, the car just spun its wheels without moving. (Linda’s car got moved into several awkward places over the years. It was a frequent target.)

- In my adulthood, we spoke often on the phone. He was always the first to volunteer to help us move (and we moved a lot in those days because of work) and he always came to holiday get togethers, no matter how far away I lived. The first year I had a video camera at Thanksgiving he ran amok with it and everyone had so much fun.

That’s really the heart of if, isn’t it? All those times filled with amazement, pride, laughter, fun… That’s why I still feel his loss so sharply and painfully now.


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