Friday, May 15, 2009

my brother's keeper

Fifty-eight years ago, I greeted my younger brother's first entry into our family home by throwing a toy truck at him -- breaking my mother's glasses in the process.

Or so the family legend goes.

I was two -- and not subject to moral culpability.

But it was not an auspicious beginning. As I think back on our lives growing up separately in the same family, there are only a few times where we spent much time together.

We did not have family vacations.

We had different school interests.

We had different tribal friends.

Our lives intersected only rarely.

Our relationship started changing when our father died in 1996. We spent more time together learning more about the other's life.

And, as you all know, our relationship took another major shift when I decided to drive to Mexico.

I had every intention of making the drive alone. My brother, who has experience as a professional driver, knew that I had no idea what I was planning on doing.

To save me from myself, he volunteered to take off a month from his business to accompany me to Mexico.

I have looked back on the past month of posts and realize that the success of this trip (to this point) was greatly due to my brother's sacrifice and support.

Not everything turned out as anticipated, and we did not agree on everything. (The smallest decision easily turned into a major competition.) But we had the best time we have ever had together.

In one post, I referred to Darrel as my best friend. He really is.

That is why Thursday was another big step in my Mexico move. After taking a closer look at Barra de Navidad and Melaque, we drove to the Manzanillo Airport where he boarded an Alaska flight to Portland.

I am going to miss having him here. Not only for his company, but for the sheer joy of having him share this experience.

That ancient tossed toy truck was, in the words of White House spin masters, "a youthful indiscretion."

Because he is my brother, my friend.


Laurie said...

Nice tribute. I wish my sister would visit me here. Her husband is afraid of the violence, etc in Honduras. Sharing your experiences with family makes for wonderful bonding times, and in this case, that seems to be the case.

Anonymous said...

"growing up separately in the same family" Quintessential America.
I resemble that remark.

Here's to brothers. Cheers.


Anonymous said...

re: John's comments yesterday,
maybe the purpose of the "same life" in your title is an attempt
to acknowledge that timeless truth- "Everywhere I go, there I am", which is kinda obvious but not always easy to understand.
I once overheard a lady in the Jardin in San Miguel say to her friend
"How can I reinvent myself if I keep running into people I know?"

Anonymous said...

You just made me cry.

New Beginnings said...

Wonderful post Steve. You are very fortunate that you were able to have this time and experience with your brother. Who knows, after this experience, he may be down here sooner than later. If so, perhaps he could be designated as the driver???? jajaja

glorv1 said...

Ah Steve, I share in your sadness. Just think though, the memories will last a lifetime. Yay for family. You'll be missing him for a little while, but I'm sure he'll be back to visit. Life is wonderful. Viva La Vida! for that matter, Viva El Hermano! Take care Steve and my best to Jiggs, the lovable family pet member. (great tribute)

Felipe said...

I envy you, Señor Cotton. My tiny Gringo family is about the most conflict-addicted bunch of rascals you´ll ever encounter. All women, by the way, which should not surprise. All women except me, of course.

Somebody famous once said that men cause problems between countries, and women cause problems in families. It´s quite true.

Anonymous said...

It brought tears to my eyes when I read your comments about the time you and your brother spent together. Now might be a good time to consider driving to San Miguel. I think it would be good for you to be around other people for awhile. I was watching a TV show where the filming was done in San Miguel. It is very different than Melaque. It looked like the perfect place to spend some time. After your brother leaves you most likely will feel very alone even more so now. There will be a void that needs to be filled. You have so much going for you. You need to be participating in life not just sitting in your house and taking walks. You will know in a few days what to do. I will be thinking about you. I been there done that and it is not healthy to spend so much time alone with nothing really to look forward to. I hope I am wrong but I don't think I am. Your friend.

Babs said...

Lovely. Isn't it interesting how the things, like the trip to Mexico, became more about the journey with your brother. How cool!

Croft Randle said...

In my case, I threw a pair of pliers at my older brother, leaving him with a scar on the bridge of his nose which he carried the rest of his life. I was three or four and he was eighteen so it was a good thing for me that he contained himself...

Chrissy and Keith said...

I bet your brother will have just as much difficulty as you will in adjusting to life without seeing each other every day.

1st Mate said...

I'm so glad you got this time together and I know you'll always remember it, whether he comes back or not. Really enjoyed getting to know him when the two of you stopped in Guaymas. I'm so envious, I'd love to penetrate the shell my sister wears and really get to know her over an extended period of time, but I doubt it'll ever happen.

Anonymous said...

It was a small 3x3 inch mirror that I threw at my 2 brothers (7 and 10 yrs older). I was 4 and I remember it. Your post brought back similar feelings some many of us share about our loved ones. Thanks for the ride!

American Mommy in Mexico said...

I love my brother very, very much and so appreciate how special this time was for you.

Intense, quality time with loved ones (friend or family) is a true gift.

We have so enjoyed our guests this year because we got to spend uninterrupted special time with them for days! It has been amazing.

Brenda said...

I am sure you will miss him; hopefully he will return soon.
Laughed when I read about you throwing the toy at him. I once threw a pair of pliers at my brother when he made me mad. Not a new baby but an annoying big brother. Our relationship as well has improved over the years.
Now you need to get out and make some friends and really explore what the area has to offer.
HI to Jiggs.

Anonymous said...

O, Brother, where art thou?
Taken the artful dodger duck?
So long ago, so long ago,
my throwing the child's truck.

Were I faced again
your homecoming new
I'd use a different mode,
perhaps a .22.

Gahan Wilson as channeled by John

Cory said...

Very nice words, Steve.

And Felipe's comment is hilliarious.