Today is Brother's birthday. He turns 51.
I'd say that's old, but then, I'm older than Brother.
Working the age angle, not a good idea.
I'd say I'm better looking than him, but that would sound rather vain.
Yeah, that won't work either.
I guess I'll just have to say that he's a pretty cool guy. He has to be, he was the lone boy in a brood of four. We trained him well. Though he would never admit that.
Growing up, Brother and I were pretty good buds. He and I, along with other kids from the neighborhood, would play street ball. Till all hours. We, the collective we, though not me, oh no not me, even broke a window or two. I learned that 'throwing like a girl' would not cut it if I was going to throw Brother out. I even learned how to pitch a curve ball thanks to the endless hours of street ball.
Last year when we gathered to celebrate Brother's fiftieth, for old times sake, there was a little street ball.
I don't think Brother got a hit. Age has a way of, how to put this, slowing you down.
Brother is a retired U.S. Marine. I always get misty eyed when I hear the Marine Crops hymn, Semper Fidelis.
For some reason I can't recall, I didn't make it to his Marine Corps boot camp graduation. I hate that I didn't.
He was a handsome young man in his brand new uniforms.
Love the dress blues.
Brother was recognized as Marine Mechanic of the Year, I don't recall the year, I missed that awards ceremony too.
Brother retired in February 2001 and went on reserve status. I didn't miss that ceremony.
On September 11, 2001 he was ready to once again serve his country, he wasn't called back to active duty. Selfishly, I was very glad he wasn't.
I have the utmost respect for the men and women who serve in the various branches of the military. When I see them at the airport, in their uniforms, I want to say 'thanks for all you do' but I can't because I know I'll be choking back tears as I do. That would embarrass everyone, well it would embarrass me, so I just smile and inwardly say thank you.
I will say thanks to Brother for not only serving our nation, but for being a great dad, husband, son, grandpa and brother.
Happy Birthday, Hermano.