March 16, 2016

 

I’m in Denver visiting my brother. I am the youngest in the family and he is the oldest. He left home for college when I was only 4 1/2, and we’ve lived our adult lives 2000 miles apart. Being busy raising our own families and not having too many shared memories has made it a challenge (at least for me) to have the closeness that I always wanted to have with him.

My memories with my brother up to my becoming an adult consist of:

  • the time we played cards and he thought I cheated (I didn’t.)
  • the time he surprised us by coming home from college for a weekend visit
  • the time he said, “This one’s for you, Mom.” and hit a home run
  • the time he came home from a game with his arm all bloody (Someone cleated him.)
  • the summer before he got married when he worked construction all day and waited tables at night and had to wear a suit and cumberbund
  • his wedding reception where I got embarrassed and cried (I was 8.)
  • a late night Yahtzee match
  • a day in the mountains fishing (We caught no fish, but the wildflowers were amazing)
  • the time he and his wife dressed up in red and white flannel nightshirts and put black licorice on their teeth and sang “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth”

Those are some memories that stand out, but I always wished there were more.

So I decided to come to Denver for a quick trip, just 2 days really, to hear him perform in an Easter choral concert at the University of Denver Newman Center. The music made me cry. (“Lamb of God” by Rob Gardner). I went both nights; both were incredible.

When I was 4 1/2 I knew my brother as a baseball wonder. Now I’m seeing him as a musician. He is a bass–basses are the foundation of the choir. Both baseball and music define much of the culture of my family’s experiences. You might think it is a strange combination, but both give access to expressing passion and both reward diligent practice. There are probably more connections, but I’ll save that for another time.

Today, my big brother took me to the Estes Park in Colorado for my first experience snowshoeing. As we drove up into the mountains, he said he had never seen the mountains so dry at this time of year. We didn’t see any snow at first, but we did see a pretty scraggly herd of elk and a small herd of mule deer with their big ears. As we drove up, the flurries started and I felt excited as if I were a child again. It started to snow harder and harder the more we climbed. We arrived at Bear Lake. There was a foot of fresh, soft, Rocky Mountain powder. It was windy and cold, but so still and quiet at the same time.

We put on our snowshoes and began the hike around the lake which was frozen and covered with snow. I had to trust him that there really was a lake there. I have a new sport to love. Snowshoeing was so much fun! I loved the feel of walking on top of deep snow, the pure white powder, the tall pines and huge boulders. But mostly, I loved being with my brother. He is so kind, supportive, and full of stories. Sometimes it’s hard to get him started, but he is a born storyteller. I’m glad he’s part of my story.

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2 comments on “March 16, 2016

  1. smcninch says:

    This is a beautiful post. I love the way you listed your earlier memories and then concluded with a new memory being crystallized in the snow. How lucky you two are to have each other.

  2. ericamcmo says:

    What a lovely experience! I love how you connect the last lines to stories.

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