Daily Archives: November 5, 2019

Happy Birthday

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[Today’s run: 2 miles on a cheap treadmill]

Today is my younger brother’s birthday. For about 2 weeks I will be one year older than he is. Then I jump back up to my usual +2.

There’s a picture of him and me and a favorite teddy bear, all three of us curled up in a bushel basket. I don’t think I could get my fat head in a bushel basket now.

We didn’t really hang out together in school or anything. Everyone in our house kind of did their own thing. And that’s good in some ways. We are all independent people.

He was really into trains. Our older brother was into rockets. I did a little bit of both but not as seriously as either of them. For awhile he was a full time steam train engineer. I look back at that now with a bit of amazement that of the three of us he was the one that really had the mechanical smarts, and the drive to do something with it. He followed our Dad in that.

Late in my college career he and I lived together at “the farm”, which was an old house out in the middle of nowhere. We moved there on a cold January day. Both of us were students at Iowa State. There were days when the pipes would freeze up and we had to drive into campus to get a shower. I lived there about 5 months then got married and moved into town. I think he lived there a while longer. I was still in the area, but we didn’t really run in the same circles so I don’t remember seeing much of him. I was focused on my work and my new wife.

Shortly after we moved away. He finished up school and did the steam train gig for awhile. Somewhere along the line he got an MBA and became a finance guy. (Both of my brothers are finance guys.) Eventually he went out to the west coast and found he enjoyed a more bohemian lifestyle. Somehow he dodged the big dangers. And he has settled down in that and seems to be doing OK.

He’s a generous guy, quick witted, very funny. I can’t think of maybe a handful of mean things he’s ever said or done. I’m sure I caused him more problems than he ever caused me. I’m philosophically more like our parents. He’s in a wider orbit which frequently put him at odds with the traditional way things are done. It’s kind of like those two brothers in “A River Runs Through It”. I’m the boring one.

I saw him and his partner at my daughter’s wedding two years ago. It had been what? most of 10 years since the last time, at our parent’s 50th anniversary party. I was glad to see him at the wedding. He was allergic to weddings for a time. But he was there and having fun.

I wouldn’t mind seeing more of him. But I’m afraid we both embarrass each other. I honestly don’t know him very well. And I don’t think he knows me well either. Or maybe we know each other too well. We have one of those relationships where we would probably step up and donate a kidney if needed but may never visit each other’s homes. That’s kind of a funny way to be with someone you once could fit into a bushel basket with.

So Happy Birthday brother! I’ll be coming along behind you in a couple of weeks. I’m glad you’ve found a good spot out there. I hope you enjoy your work and home and have a long healthy time of it.

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Nov 5, 2019
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