Brother Number 1
I never would have believed it when we were kids, but he's a heck of an organizer and a very good leader. When he was young, he couldn't find his way out of a paper bag. Now he directs large groups of people - including giving them directions, or leading them out of the swamp with a compass and a pencil. The military has been wonderful and awful - it's helped him grow as a man and lit a fire under him like nothing else did. But it's also taken him away. He's about to go away again and I find that I will miss him. I never know when to call him because he's on duty at some pretty strange hours, so it's a treat when he calls just because he's on his way from point A to point B and wants some company. And it's pretty cool that he wants mine.
Be safe over there, sir!
Brother number 1 has been a godsend to all of us at various times - and we appreciate it!
Brother Number 2 stayed here in town. He's quite the character with his turqoise tow truck! He used to have a wolf that rode around on the back of it wearing sunglasses, so everyone in town knew who he was. He's that white knight that comes out of the night to help with a flat tire or a dead battery or to take your car to the shop when it refuses to budge another inch. On more than one occasion, he has saved my vehicular bacon. And I'm not the only one. There have been newspaper articles about the unidentified tow truck operator who swooped in and helped the stranded motorist, sometimes doing the repair himself if it was late and there were no shops open.
Brother Number 3
This brother was the family clown. He has always had a quirky sense of humor, an inventive streak when it came to practical jokes, and a dead-pan delivery that could fool even those who know him best. He came home from the Army about the same time I arrived back in town after my first marriage ended. We both lived with the parents for about three months, at which point I think ALL of us were ready for #3 and me to move out. We got an apartment together and managed to stick together for a year before going our separate ways. I am grateful for that time though, because I didn't really know this guy. He was still a kid when I left home. What I discovered was that he was very smart in addition to being funny, and though he was a hard-body body builder, his insides were rather soft and mushy. I love this about him. When he returned for his latest high school reunion, he was confronted by the principle whose life was made far too interesting when my brother was a student. He asked what Brother #3 wound up doing for a living. I think he was expecting bartender or career waiter or some other career that didn't ask for much. He was floored when he found out.
Brother Number 4
When he was little, he was our flower child. Everyone liked brother number 4! Sibling rivalry just didn't seem to exist with this one at all. He was an easy going kid and an adventurer. As a toddler, he was the consummate escape artist. There one moment, gone the next. It's a very good thing that life moved at a slower pace back then because he would take off and go walk-about on his own - at age 3! Once, the grumpy old guy down the block showed up on our doorstep, Number 4 under his arm. When Mom answered the door, he held him out and asked, "This yours?" Life hasn't always been magical though. He married and divorced. Spent time in Man House, but had a really hard time finding a job. The adventurer resurfaced though, when he decided to move to South Korea and teach English at a school there. It was probably the best decision he ever made, because there, he met his bride-to-be. They are perfect for each other and from the pictures I've seen, they just shine in each other's company.
Brother Number 5
Last, but not least, is Brother Number 5. I didn't know this one. He was born just before I turned 18 and left home. I was busy trying to build my own life and didn't pay that much attention to him. Then I moved far away and never saw him, but occasionally dreamed about him. When I returned, he was in high school, trying to figure out who he was and how he fit into the world. I rather enjoyed him then. We talked and I became his champion when he wanted out of the IB program - and again when he decided to move to NYC after graduation. I've always admired his guts and determination to pick up and move far away to start his own life. It wasn't always easy. He wanted to be an actor, but instead became an ace bartender and waiter. He moved back South and lived in Man House for a while - and got his feet under him. He learned that he was a good manager of people and businesses and once he had those skills honed, move back to the place I believe is his REAL hometown - NYC. He's making it there.
And he's still gutsy and determined. Last weekend, he completed a 285 mile bike ride from Boston to New York as part of the Braking The Cycle fundraiser.
It was iffy, whether or not he'd get to ride. It was hard getting people to donate to the level where they'd let him ride. Family and friends - and friends of family and friends of friends via word of mouth and FaceBook postings donated enough for him to ride, though it was short of his goal. But people are still giving. At last look, he was $1005 away from reaching it. If you haven't donated and would like to, click on the link above to go to his donation page. The ride, to raise funds for HIV/AIDs research was big news up north! I'm so proud of him for doing this - a worthwhile cause and a great physical challenge at the same time!
So there you have it. Five guys, all very different; all honorable, decent men - all of whom I admire greatly. I am proud (and a bit humbled) to be big sister to all of them.