Friday, June 21, 2019

Happy Day Before You Are An Old Person, Brother

He's been counting down the days.  He sends me postcards and packages, each one telling me how many days are left until his 65th natal anniversary.

He's my little brother.  How can he be a Senior Citizen?

He's the drollest human I've ever known.  Lazily daydreaming over lunch, he responded to Daddooooo's rather caustic suggestion that he show some spirit by going to G'ma's mounted pad of paper and coming back with the word SPIRIT pinned to his chest.  His response when I asked him why he had been in his room all afternoon, never replying to my lonely calls for company (yes, I did walk around my empty house wondering aloud if anyone was there) was classic:  I had nothing to say.

He's one of FlapJilly's favorite people.  How can she know an uncle who lives in Maryland?  He drops in on occasion to say Hi!  His youngest lives in Chicago.  He does not like to fly (silver tubes of metal should not be in the sky).  He does like to drive.  He calls from the highway to ask if he can drop in for an hour or so; they always say yes.  Little Cuter thinks it's the perfect visit - she doesn't have to prepare, cook, or clean.  He just shows up, stays for a few hours, then goes on his merry way.

Her children are his niece and nephew; it's important to him that they know him.  But he's a perfect guest, and never overstays his welcome.  He's there.  He's gone.  He's left small gifts and large smiles in his wake.

He stayed in our apartment while he looked for a job in Chicago.  Please don't let him accept another offer before he talks to me again was the delightful message I was able to give him one afternoon.  He came back from that interview with balloons and beer for an I am hired celebration.  Sharing the joy with him is one of my favorite memories.

He came to stay for a while after bullets changed my life.  He took a list of our home repair projects and, like his father before him, took my car keys and directions to the hardware store and got to work.  He told me that Bottles and Stems was not, as I'd imagined, a florist with vases, but the plumbing supply shop where he purchased the fix for our sink.  He knows things like that.

He wanted to own a gas station instead of going to college, but G'ma and Daddooooo and his guidance counselor nixed that plan.  He's been a number cruncher and an IT guy and a commercial and residential realtor.  He's worked with friends and been sued by their families (they sued their own son, too, as I recall).  He's worked for Fortune 500 firms and for himself.  He's never met a woodworking project he wouldn't tackle, or a parenting problem he didn't bring his entire self to face.

He forces me to get on the phone and call our sister every year on her birthday, even though she always hangs up on us for reminding her that she is aging.  I argue about not wanting to do it, he convinces me, places the conference call, we sing, she complains, his family laughs, I hang up.  Year after year, we go through the same routine.  Family is important to him.  He'll make me participate, no matter how much I bitch and moan.

He's raised two delightful daughters and is still married to the girl he met in college.  He's all about balance - work, health, religion, friends, the world at large.  He wore a pussy hat I crocheted to the Women's March in Washington, riding his collapsible bike when the subway couldn't accommodate him.  He 's gone out of his way to find a particular tool in a particular rural town kinda-sorta on the way to the kids' home in the Chicago suburbs.  It was heavy.  It was in good shape.  SIR could use it. Uncle Jeff bought it.

Uncle Jeff is my funniest uncle, according to FlapJilly.  He's also the kindest, most thoughtful, most genuine human I know.  Tomorrow he will turn 65.  Wish him a happy birthday with me, please.


  1. AND he went to Ohio just to visit an iris farm and brought me back four different types just because. AND he rode jetskis with me at my graduation weekend. And he wore a literal fox hat to my rehearsal dinner at the Fox and Hound restaurant.

    1. -- From Little Cuter, btw. ((foiled by the comment form!))

  2. Happy Birthday, Jeff.

    I knew you had a brother, but I've never heard about a sister. Where have you been keeping her?

  3. Yeah, well, that’s a whole ‘nother story, as they say.

  4. Happy birthday to a very cool-sounding little brother.

  5. Can 100% verify best dad ever. Chicago sister even found the hat to prove it. (Which she placed in a findable location when he drove cross country tho help her move. For the 11th time.)

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. ... someday I will learn to spell my username...


Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!