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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Here are two of my favorite guys in the world. My brother, Scott, is on the left. My father, Rick (should the gray in the mustache not give it away) is on the right. I've often found it interesting how different family members can be and yet how deep the love of family unites us despite those differences. As for the two men above, I remember a couple of instances that juxtapose those differences in who we are.

Years ago, Leslie and I lived in a small neighborhood that at Christmas would put out luminaries in the front yard. It was really pretty to see these flickering paper bags in front of each home on the street. My brother and father happened to be visiting in the late afternoon and so agreed to help me fill the bags with sand, set the candles and lay them along the sidewalk. Now for those of you who know me, I would just assume lay out a chalk-line, carefully measuring the exact distance between each bag. A bit over the top, maybe, but that's just how I roll. While I was filling the last of the bags with sand, Scott and Dad were busy laying them out along the sidewalk in the front yard. When I turned around, the line of luminaries looked about as straight as a line graph of the 2008 Dow Jones Industrial Average. They laughed as I followed behind, setting the bags in a straight line. Later I learned they did it just to get my goat.

It wasn't always done in a deliberate manner to toy with me, however. My Dad has always been the kind of guy who felt that functional was simply good enough. For twenty five years he had a slide bolt lock screwed to the inside of a bathroom door so it could be locked for privacy. I think he's beginning to rethink things however, as he recently removed the bolt lock and actually replaced the doorknob with one that locks. Similarly, a few years back Dad helped me put together a toy for one of the kids. I was bent out of shape to see that he had put a sticker of a clock on the toy upside down . He shrugged his shoulders, the kids never noticed and I experienced a small stroke from the incorrectness of it all.

I suppose my point is, perhaps what I love most about my brother and my father are not the multitude of things that we do hold in common, but the handful of things that are different about us. Maybe letting things go a bit more is an important component of true happiness. I'm not sure, but I'm working on it. And who knows, in 25 years I may remove the lockable knobs from my bathroom doors and install bolt locks., maybe not.


Rick said...

Just to be honest and show some transparency (you like that, right?), your post came up in my google reader as "(title unknown)". I was going to try to help you title it, but fail to come up with anything that doesn't include the words "tight" and "sphincter". Nice homey post, regardless.

Alan said...

I felt the picture of the bolt lock worked as an appropriate title. Thanks for the comment, Rick.

The Nicholsons said...

No way. Someone has to straighten the luminaries! It's the burden of the first born.

Kyle said...

I grew up in a house with actual sliding doors that were on tracks and rolled into the walls. No locks! NO LOCKS!
I think those doors helped me develop a fine example of neurosis.

Todd R. Vick said...

Nice post, pal. I am honored to have been around to hear your Dad give his pearls of wisdom to us as we prepared to become college men. It is etched indelibly in my memory.

"Boys, don't let your meat loaf."

I'm glad I heeded that advice. Oh, and I taught Scott the proper way to consume a brewski. :)