My brother outdid himself with his blog post here yesterday. Believe me, I am no saint. I have made many mistakes, and have much yet to learn.
If I were all what my brother makes me out to be, I would exhibit far more patience than I do, and I would be more open and accepting of things that other people do that drive me nuts. Those behaviours like yakking on a cell phone while driving or riding a motorcycle in sneakers should not make me so crazy, but they do. Thus, I am no saint.
But let me tell you, I think the world of my brother. He has worked so very hard to get where he is in life. Everything was harder for him, and he had to study very hard in school his whole life. He worked hard, far harder than I ever did in school, and it paid off. J struggled and studied and got tutoring and help from my family, me, and others. His good grades in school were an indication of what he can do when he sets his mind to it. Me? I was a sloucher and got straight A’s. Go figure. But J never resented that; he just told me, “atta boy!”
Don’t throw a ball my way or ask me any questions about sports. In our birthing process, J got every nucleic acid of DNA related to sports and I got none of it. J is naturally athletic. Graceful and talented, he went to college on a sports scholarship. He earned several honors while playing football in high school and college. Me? Someone always had to tell me what side of the field to look toward and say, “yay!” While I was always J’s number one cheerleader, I never liked sports and my disinterest in sports remains the same to this day.
My brother commented about how I handled a community meeting the other night. It wasn’t as raucous as he made it sound. Perhaps, though, I employed listening and response skills that I learned from my Mentor and friend, who served as an elected official for 17 years in the district of the county where I live, until her untimely death. Gosh, I still miss her lots. But by acting on what she taught me, perhaps that is how I carry on her vision and her teachings.
Ordinarily, riding my Harley 300 miles (500km) in one day as my brother and I did on Tuesday is not something I prefer to do. If it were anyone else other than my brother asking me to ride that far in one day, I would have politely declined. But it was J who asked. He never asks me for anything. How could I refuse? My brother has always been a man who carries out his plans and realizes dreams.
One thing about riding motorcycles with a twin is that we can intuitively tell when we need to stop and take a break. It may be after a half-hour or an hour, but frequent stops help stretch the ol’ muscles and relieve our saddle soreness.
We had a number of times when that “twin thing” happened. For example, when we were riding and looking for a place to stop, we both would head to the same gas station. We complete each other’s sentences. We think alike in many ways, yet we are different men.
My brother is more comfortable in khakis and sneakers when dressed casually. He looks great in a suit, which he wears to work every day. I’m more of the Wranglers and boots kinda guy, and I do not like how I look in a suit because it makes me so uncomfortable.
He does not credit himself adequately for his diplomatic skills. He employs tact and is gentle when he communicates with others. Perhaps that’s why my partner and my brother had so many long, intense conversations during this visit. My brother is the only one in our family who can engage my partner in conversation.
He is a very good husband to his wife, and a wonderful brother to all of us in the family. He doesn’t forget the dates of all of our birthdays — including the huge bunch of nieces, nephews, and “greats” that are in our large family. Again, where we are similar is that he remembers to send cards, as I do.
I was truly honored to have my brother choose to come spend a week with me for our birthday. He could have gone anywhere; taken his wife to a beautiful resort; or gone on an adventure to sate his wanderlust. But he chose to come stay with me. He chose to rent a Harley, and since he does not ride regularly, it took a lot of work for him to get comfortable riding again. But he did that for me. Further, he does not wear boots, but once more, for me, he wore a different pair of my motorcycle boots every day while visiting me to use while riding. Better yet, he kept them on while we were not riding. I think he looks great in boots; however, they are not his choice of regular footwear.
My brother has always been my soulmate and best friend, and always will be. He accepts me and loves me for who I am. It doesn’t matter to him that I am gay; what matters to him is that I am happy and leading a productive, fulfilling life. Happy I am with my wonderful partner, our home, my current employment, and living in a great community where my roots run deep.
I treasure him more than words can express. My buddy, my best friend, my brother. Smart, reliable, honest, friendly, and fun. What a great guy. I love you too, ‘bro, with all my heart.
Life is short: show those you love that you love them.