Last weekend, my Uncle invited us to his house for a barbecue. ZBoy and I were a little late, but we still got to see my uncle and his wife, my cousin and her kids, and Jerry! He had the big tow truck there with him and after lunch was going to go pick up a school bus for scrap. Apparently he has a contract with a recycler and scrap metal is big money these days. He says it's amazing how many old school buses there are sitting around in the weeds waiting to be recycled.
Then my brother James had a little flurry of posting on his blog. Among other things, he now has a new iPhone and is seriously in love with it. He's been living in Atlanta for a few years now, but had kept his old NYC phone number on his cell. Apparently this new phone was sexy enough for him to give up the NYC number and go local. I don't have his new number though, so I couldn't call him - I just commented on his blog.
Matt called looking for some advice for a job interview - and perhaps a little pep talk as well. He's been applying for and interviewing for jobs for quite a while now, but hasn't landed one yet. Not one to sit on his behind, he became a certified personal trainer and works part-time at a little country radio station. However, it's not quite enough to live on - and neither job has benefits. He needs something a little more reliable. I haven't heard how things turned out yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
I talked to Andy today. He had surgery on his elbow yesterday. His girlfriend Red took him home and stayed the night to make sure he was okay and properly medicated. He slept all night and drifted in and out of consciousness all day, but during a somewhat lucid period, he returned my two phone calls to check on his condition and assured me that other than being incredibly drowsy, he was feeling remarkably good. He won't be leaving the house for a couple of days though. Friday he gets a cast on his arm and can finally take a shower. I know, from recent experience, how absolutely heavenly that can be after four or five days of NOT being able to really bathe.
And finally, as I left work, I called my brother John. John has a birthday tomorrow and I wasn't sure what his schedule or my schedule would be so I decided to take a shot at talking to him today. We chatted about various things, including Andy, our diets, our parents, my job, his job - you know... the usual things. He sent me some photos of himself in his Army uniform that showed very plainly how he had gained weight when he injured his back and how he got his fitness back, showing in the now well-fitting uniform (as opposed to the sausage casing he was wearing before).
I told him I'd have to see it when I got home, as I had to stop to pick up pizza on the way. ZBoy was having a spend-the-night, and the other child just doesn't eat real food. Very frustrating. However, seeing as how pizza is a rarity for us, I ordered a couple from Little Caesar's and was about to pick them up.
"Ah, good choice! In more ways that one," my brother announced.
"How do you mean?" I asked. It seemed an odd thing to say in light of our very recent diet conversation.
Little Caesar's had just come to town. I remember having it when I lived in OKC, and I remembered it as pretty good pizza. This was my first venture since their grand opening.
"Well, it's a really good value - only $5.00 for a large pizza and they're already made. But to me, the real value is that Little Caesar's goes out of its way to make life better for veterans. They have a franchising program especially for disabled veterans that makes it much easier for them to start their own business," he said. And that really makes it a good deal. You see, my brother knows whereof he speaks. He's spent time in Iraq. He's seen the veterans who come home. He has said that if he ever gets rich, he wants to do something for the veterans - something that really means a lot to those people. The fact that he's so in tune with the programs that exist, including the one at Little Caesar's impressed the hell out of me
I guess I've known it for a while intellectually, but emotionally - all these guys are my little brothers... I have to realize that even though they ARE my little brothers, they are grown up men capable of achieving great things. James manages a large business. Matt is making his way after a very difficult time in some difficult circumstances. Jerry owns his own business. Andy has the job of his dreams. And today, I finally came to grips with the fact that John is an incredible human being. He's not a pest anymore.
Happy Birthday, John!
John as a teenager. He had the most gorgeous hair... I was kind of sad to see it get cut.
Newly minted soldier. Notice how much uniform you can see. These days, most of that is covered up with ribbons and medals.
John gets to play with all kinds of fun toys.
This may just be one of my favorite pictures ever. Dad, John and his son. Three generations. Please note that the little tyke in the middle just graduated from high school a couple of months ago...