Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Personal Note

It's October 15th, a date with some significance for me. Yes, it's the day after the full moon. And the day of the final debate between the two main presidential candidates. But more germane to this entry is that it's also my brother's birthday. I used to call him my little brother, until in his teens he grew about a half-foot taller than me - just as our mother had warned me he would ("You need to be nice to him" she'd say, "he'll be bigger than you someday"). Come to think of it, this lends credence to the suspicion shared by my sister and I that maybe he wasn't really related to us . . .

As kids, he was always stuck with the role of being my little brother, with all the unrealistic expectations associated with that. Everyone, it seemed, expected him to be just like me and do as I did. He suffered this way until he went to a school where no one had ever heard of me. Although not a star student, this was the first chance he'd had to be someone other than my little brother. He proceeded to pursue other interests and do quite well on his own. Coincidentally, this was roughly around the time when we actually started to get along - sometimes.

His death some six years ago was unfortunately coincidental with my arriving at LAX, having just moved from New Orleans. Since that time, I've been attempting to get reassigned somewhere closer to the family home in Texas, with no real success. He was the one who had some real mechanical ability, and it was regularly needed to keep the machinery on the farm running. Have you ever tried to fix a brush hog over the phone?

One of my contributions to the social welfare is that I'm a regular blood donor. For the last several years, I've made it a point to donate on this date in memory of my brother. Through the inadvertent assistance of an up-and-coming supervisor at work, who cancelled my scheduled overtime shift for today,
this year was no exception. There's another neat coincidence in this: By donating today, my next date of eligibility is December 10th - my father's birthday.

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