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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

It came from another time.....

A thousand times the phone rings and it is a telemarketer or the friend you just spoke to last week or your teenaged daughter asking for a ride. Another thousand for your mom, the doctor confirming your appointment, your son-in-law inviting you to a cookout. Plus telemarketers. I wonder how many do-not-call lists there are in this world?????

Then comes one that is entirely different.

The voice sounded so familiar, and it told me that I could be having a younger (step) brother! I began to do the math: I hadn't seen him in twenty-five years! He had obtained my information from my (half) sister and was in the area on business! Did I want him to come by?

Twenty-five years ago my father died. He was fifty-three years old. Now I am fifty-three. Dad died in 1981, far too young, unable or unwilling to give up the cigarettes that helped kill him.

Marc was Californiafied by that time, although born in Michigan, and he had never left the San Jose area since arriving in the early 70's. I had thought that perhaps I would never see him again.

Amazingly, my directions enabled him to actually find the house. The thing that struck me first was his white head. Like me, Marc still has a full head of hair. But while I have the classic "graying at the temples", Marc is just white all over. I realized I was incredibly glad to see him and hugged him when he walked in the door.

It's funny what you remember. I am almost three years older, so some of the early memories I have he has lost. We found ourselves recounting a lot of things that got us in trouble with Dad and some of the things we got away with, too. He was glad to point out to my wife a few escapades I was involved in. He steadfastly refused to remember shooting an old lady in the butt with his BB gun when he was 12 (whereas I still remember it like yesterday). He couldn't remember hiding in our fort high up on the lake bluff and throwing dirt clods at passing teenagers. But he did remember having a "thing" for blowing up stuff with firecrackers and M80's. He certainly remembered the name of the girl who inspired our roadtrip of 1972, when we drove up to Grosse Point Woods to visit a couple of girls we had met at a vacation lodge in the UP (Yoopie = Upper Peninsula of Michigan) and then moved on to cruise through Canada in my 1965 (It was actually 1964 1/2 = one of the originals) Mustang convertible. Sue Williams. Heck, I can't remember a thing about the other girl. But he sure remembered that one.

On the way back, he bet me I couldn't, so I drove from Toledo to South Bend on the toll road without using my hands, just my knees. Looking back, I guess we were borderline juvies, taking great pleasure in throwing snowballs at passing cars or water balloons into convertibles and that kind of thing. If boys will be boys, we were classic examples of the genre.

Pretty soon, various kids began to filter in so that the room was full of people. Our kids seemed delighted to meet Marc. Dave's friend Wes came by. My buddy Mark stopped in. It had segued into party mode, complete with deep dish Aurelio's pizzas. We were laughing, the teenagers were cutting up, pictures being passed around.

He was here for several hours but it went so fast! I found out he had my grandpa's old 12-guage side-by-side shotgun in his possession and he promised to send it to me when he got back home. He said he came into the area 5-6 times a year on business and he'd call next time he had some spare time so we could get together again.

The rain was thundering down but he had a hotel room an hour away with all of his gear, so he was gone before midnight. So much for me making a blogpost last night!

I tried to look at me and my life through his eyes. We have a nice home and lots of great kids. I love my wife and she loves me. I have been through some tough times and am overweight with some injury problems that I must work to overcome. We are certainly not rich. But I a happy guy.

Marc is a world traveler. His sister (my step-sister) Sue has dated movie stars. Other than an occasional vacation, I have been anchored here in Indiana for the last thirty years. I guess my life might look a bit boring compared to his. But then I sleep next to my wife each night and Marc spends more time in airplanes and hotel rooms than he does with his family. Tomato/tomahto I guess.

It made me think about my Dad again, especially when Marc commented on our location. We are in a subdivision with only one entrance but the area is "boondocks" surrounded by protected marshlands and farms. My Dad and I thought alike, wanting to be close enough to the city to get there, but far enough away to avoid the crowds. He was like that his whole life, but his last decade he lived in a crowded Callifornia suburb where everyone has a privacy fence and the houses and stores just go on and on and you can walk two hundred yards and be in a woods, or walk six hundred yards and find the edge of a big marshy pond where wading birds and frogs seem unaware of nearby civilization. When Marc and I were kids, we would have walked through about every square inch of the woods and looked under every felled log and flat rock for critters, especially the kind with scales.

I think he'll be back.


Juggling Mother said...

wow, 25 years is a long time, but some things really can just be picked up again:-) I'm glad it was a good visit and the relationship will (hopefully) remain in the future.

It's hard to tell how he views your life - he might well understnad all your reasons perfectly and think you've done wonderfully with your life, having got the things that are most important to you, or he might think it's a boring and dull existance. who knows? Who cares? As long as you are happy & no-one is being hurt, everyone should live as they want. I can't say I really fancy the jet-setting lifestyle & movie-star dates myself (although movie star money & the ability to travel more sound good).

highboy said...

Juggling Mother, your avatar is totally awesome.

creeper said...

Excellent post, Radar. This is when you're at your best. And welcome back. It sounds like you're inundated right now, so I hope you enjoyed the time off.

Juggling Mother said...

Highboy - thanks - i like your new one better too:-)