Friday, July 22, 2011

Brother Number 1

The number is only significant in that he was the first born boy. He was born 15 months after my sister. His brother was born only 15 months after him. I was born 18 months after the second boy. My younger sister came along 22 months after me. At least one could say my parents were slowing down....

Mike grew up in the same shadow I did. But as first born boy, he held special rank. He held his own when the other boy was born. Although I think there may be have some challenges when his younger brother started to grow taller, and had more athletic prowess.

Where Mike didn't excel in sports, he shined as a World War II history buff and a musician. He started to play the trumpet in 5th grade, and took that all the way to college. In high school he was enamored by the high lip trills of Maynard Ferguson. He used to practice them in the bathroom. Slowly. It was a kind of torture for all in the house.

He also started working in a local ice cream treat store after he got his driver's license. We all benefitted from his many "mistake" turtle sundaes.

He was entering his first year of college when Dad died. I can't imagine the pressure he must have felt leaving home so soon after the funeral. I'm not sure about the amount of time that passed between saying "good-by" at the cemetery and Mom driving him to his freshman dorm.

He chose to attend a college more than 6 hours away. He wanted to be a high school band director. After a year, he transferred to a different college in Minneapolis, dropped the music education degree. I don't know what bachelor degree he ended up earning. I went to his graduation; all I remember from that event is meeting his girlfriend. She was hot. I was surprised. I shouldn't have been. Mike is an amazing person.

He has a shell of toughness that he wears just like his policeman's uniform. He travels great distances to attend policemen funerals. He'll even play taps on his trumpet from time to time. He's a marathon runner and single parent to two boys; both of whom have graduated high school.

He can recite full quotes from any Monte Python Movie, or any comedy for that matter. He is a fountain of knowledge that would be the golden ticket for any trivia team. He's a brilliant cook. He made the family a cheese cake with cottage cheese that blew my socks off; and he won't tell me how he did it.

On the few occasions I see him, I catch myself staring at him to find what attributes of my father might be lingering on his face. I don't have to look far to see them in the way he tells a joke. He's a fantastic provider to his boys, and a strong son to Mom. He lives close to my sister; frequently checks in on her in his police cruiser just to piss her off.

What I love most about my brother is that I know there's a teddy bear underneath a layer of Barney Fife bravado. Even though our politics don't mix, he will always be there for me if I ever needed him.

#36of 90in90 for #LUBlogTribe

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