Enthusiasm for Life

Guest Blog by J (BHD’s twin brother)

What’s it like to know and observe someone whose boundless energy to enjoy life surrounds you? Let me tell you: it’s exhausting! But it is very fun!

My brother who goes by BHD or “Booted Harleydude” on this blog (and we call him lots of other names, too), is surrounded by people who think the world of him. I would like to claim that I am his number one cheerleader, but I will relinquish il numero uno to his partner who cares so deeply for him. I am so pleased that he is happy, which makes him joyful, playful, funny, and great to be around. This is why I came back to visit this week.

You see, I have a job which is interesting but very challenging. It sucks the energy out of me. I need these visits with my brother to recharge myself. I love my wife and she’s terrific. She is a wonderful partner in all respects. Her perspective on life, though, is from “old family Europe.” If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.

She is always very serious, and it takes a lot to make her laugh. That’s one of the reasons why I love my brother so much, because when he was Best Man at our wedding in Venice, Italy, he was the only one who was able to make my wife laugh — not once, not twice, but many times. She was in such a dither about the wedding, my brother intuitively realized that she needed to laugh which would help her (and me) lighten up. He did it by sharing amusing anecdotes about what he observed other people doing or saying. Because he looks so American, Italians speak freely in front of him because they do not think he can understand them, yet he speaks the language fluently. They said the craziest things, which he made even funnier when he relayed them to us.

I spent yesterday accompanying my brother on rounds he was making within the retirement community where our Mom lived. He baked two cakes very early in the morning before I awoke. One was for a friend who lives there, and just got home from the hospital. Another was for a friend of his who was feeling a bit lonely since her family never visits.

Then I became his helper when he had to fix a broken light switch for one of his “crew” (as he calls his elderly friends.) That repair was more complicated than either of us thought it would be, because the wiring was hard to reach and brittle. But it was not a problem for my brother: he kept at it persistently until it was fixed. No sooner than he finished there, he walked across the street to fix a drawer slider for another elderly friend. The drawer kept falling out every time she opened it. Not any more! (His toolbox is a cross between Mary Poppins’ and MacGyver’s bag — he has everything!)

These are the little things that my brother does for other people that I observe, and he keeps telling me that “it’s nothing.” Well, it IS something, big guy! Few others do things like that.

We had lunch with our Aunt, who at age 94 remains bright, cheerful, albeit quite forgetful. She is generally quiet, and doesn’t say much. That is, until my brother walks in the door. How she lights up! She smiles, laughs, and shares stories about our family that I enjoy hearing again. He encourages her to express herself, which helps her with her memory problems. What a caring soul my brother is.

We returned home and went for our last ride together (for this visit) on our motorcycles to return my rented Harley. We rode through the old neighborhood where we grew up along the way. My goodness, so much has changed. Funny though, several people waved at my brother as we rode by; he has held his connections to our home stomping grounds.

When we got home, his partner was just returning from work. My whirling-dervish brother greeted his partner and helped unpack his car with things he brought home from the market. Then, right before my eyes and in less than a half-hour, my brother prepared a splendid meal. He pulled out chicken breasts which had been magically marinading in the fridge and grilled them. He cut it up and put on salad rich with home-grown vegetables from his garden. What a light, delicious, and filling meal! He says he does this “all the time.” Gee, my wife and I have much to learn. We eat at restaurants more often than we should.

When I thought our day was over, my brother had changed clothes again and said that he had to go to a community meeting that he couldn’t get out of. He explained that factions were warring over a development project. I decided to go with him to watch him in his “community leader” role.

When we arrived, my brother greeted everyone by name. “No big deal,” he says, “these people are my neighbors.” My brother explained the situation clearly and succinctly. It impressed me how he remained calm in spite of some rather emotional outbursts by different parties. I think his response to emotions is to be even more calm. His voice grows quiet; his brow is quizzical but not angry; and he asks, rather than answers. By the end of the meeting, the different sides had resolved to work out their differences. That’s my brother: the mediator, friend, good neighbor, listener, and problem solver.

When we got home about 9, my brother and his partner went to bed. I can’t go to sleep that early. My brother, though, always has been the “early bird.” I stayed up to write this blog post and check my email. I told my wife in an email that I missed her, but am enjoying this trip very much because of what my brother does for my soul.

I am very blessed to have this energetic, bright, and POWERFUL soulmate, best friend, and brother rolled into one intelligent, thoughtful, caring and impressive man. Isn’t it great to call your brother your best friend? He always has been, and always will be.

Hold your friends close, and your family closer. At least, that’s what my brother always says! As I prepare to return back home to Europe, I will be fondly remembering this very special birthday week with a man I love, respect, and admire. I will always hold him very close in my heart. I love you, ‘bro!

1 thought on “Enthusiasm for Life

  1. Dear J,

    Who wouldn't love to have a brother like that? 🙂

    And Happy Birthday to you too! I am very happy to read that you've had a great time spending your birthday with your twin brother.

    Have a safe trip home.

Comments are closed.