This is a man that I have known my whole life, but never really had a relationship with. He being the second oldest of seven children and me being the second to the youngest, we never spent a lot of time in the same house. When I was in first grade, he joined the Navy and by the time he was retired after 20 or so years, I was well on my way to my own set of choices.
This is a man that taught me at the tender age of four (me, not him), how to tie my shoes. He did so well at this lesson that, to this day, I can still tie my shoes.
Unbeknownst to him, this same man once disappointed me at Christmas, when the promised water buffalo never arrived to my awaiting arms. I was so excited, and yet strangely naive. I wasn’t really sure what a water buffalo was, but I knew that I wanted one, particulary if someone was going to give me one.
I can still visualize his handwriting on the lined paper that he used to write letters home when he was stationed in Vietnam. I often wonder if my mom kept any of those letters, or even what she thought when she received one. I really wonder what they said and the stories they told, or if he just wanted money.
One year when he broke up with a girl friend around Christmas time, my sisters and I were the recipients of a gift set of the perfume Chanel No5, this we were lead to belive may have been destined for a different set of wrists. Even now, when I detect the scent of Chanel No5, I think of him. Please correct me if I’m wrong, maybe he thought that 10 year olds should smell so good. OR….we really did need to smell better….augh!
This is the guy that loves Nascar, a sport I really don’t understand, but I don’t really have to, do I? He also loves tinkering and fixing stuff. He’s a first class mechanic and “a something something” Class Petty officer in the Navy. He lost some of his hearing in service to our country and they’ve rewarded him by ignoring that fact….bastard$.
This is the man that I could never recall how old he was until one day I got good at math and figured out that he is exactly 10 years older than me. But most of all he is my oldest brother and I love him. I present to you, Richard.