B is for Brother



is for brother. I have one. DW has two. Crash has one. So does Bang. As all parents know brothers, siblings for that matter, can be as different as night and day. As different as fried chicken and waffles. As different as a ladybug and lion. Yet, despite all the differences, there are always some similarities.

There is as much space between my brother and I as there is between Crash and Bang. Growing up he was always more stubborn. He had the bigger temper. But he was the nicer one. Mom likes to tell the story of when my brother and I would share a bag of M&M’s. The bag would be split evenly in half. I would then help him eat his half before eating my own. He worked at golf club during a summer in high school and after I would get off work he would get me in so we could play a round. He helped me get home for my grandmother’s funeral a couple years ago.

But that’s what brothers do. I would do the same for him if I could.

As kids, we spend more time with our siblings than we do with anyone else. We spend more time with siblings than alone. Naturally, when kids spend this much time with someone there is going to be conflict. The old sibling rivalry. However, this rivalry has been proven to be a good thing. Not in the eyes of parents who sometimes have to step in help resolve the conflict, of course. However, it’s been shown that those who can learn to solve conflicts with a sibling are better prepared to solve conflicts outside the home, both as kids and later as adults.

I’m sitting here trying to remember what my brother and I did when we were Crash or Bang’s age. I used to fly by myself to Florida to visit grandparents. When I was 9 and my brother 6, we made that solo trip together. On that same trip we went to Disney World. I don’t remember going, but I have seen photos.

fivalWe made my brother’s Fival the Mouse moon other cars during long road trips. When we were older we played basketball in the driveway. We played homerun derby with a wiffle ball. We went for bike rides to the park or just around the block. We played more baseball than you can swing a bat at. We kayaked from our grandmother’s to our parents which required camping for a night. We played competitive beach volleyball one summer. We also played on a mens modified pitch softball team. He was catcher, I was center field. We threw more a few out at home plate. 

It makes me wonder what my two will remember of their childhood together…

Today, we literally live on opposite sides of the world. He is in South Korea with his family and I’m in Nova Scotia with mine. Despite being 6,665 miles apart, we still have common roots, family and the same place we both still call home. Maryland. We back the birds – the Orioles baseball all the way. Steamed crabs and Old Bay seasoning. Corny jokes – especially Star Wars jokes. 

Q: What’s the internal temperature of a tauntaun?
A: Luke warm


is also for Birthday because 37 years ago today I got a baby little younger brother. Happy birthday bro!



Passing on Books

I’m sitting here thinking about the books I read when I was kid. Before I picked up novels there were books like this one…

Talk to Me Reader

Talk to Me Reader

Mom says I loved to read along with this. Thanks Fisher Price! That’s the reader on right. You used the reader with Talk-To-Me books, which had a 2-inch plastic record laminated on the bottom corner of each page. You line up the player with the record and pressed play. After a mechanical KA-CHUNK, the record would start playing to read the page to you. Man, I still wish I had this. I bet my boys would love it. If they didn’t I sure would!

Once I did read novels, from what I can remember, I preferred fiction. I still have Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary waiting for my sons to read and hopefully enjoy as much as I did. Actually, I was big fan of Beverly Cleary. I think I wanted to meet her. She also wrote a three book series about the mouse, Ralph S. Mouse. I read The Mouse and the Motorcycle, the first in the series, and I was hooked. Then there was Matt Christopher. Being the somewhat athletic kid I was, I really connected with these. There might even be one two of his books here patiently waiting to be opened by the next generation.

Then there were books on the lesser known side that I enjoyed and often read more than once. One such book was Bones on Black Spruce Mountain by David Budbill. Then there were Choose Your Own Adventure books. In real life, once you make your choice, that’s it, it’s a done deal. It’s not like that in a book. Didn’t like your choice? Go back and pick the other one! I may have cheated a few times to make it to the end.

Quality reading? I’m not sure it really matters. I was reading. My parents let me choose what I wanted to read, with some guidance, of course. I do the same with their grand kids (2 of them, anyway). Hopefully, they’ll learn to love reading the same way their parents do.

bones       mr henshaw

The post “My Early Novel Reading Days” by I Read Encyclopedias ignited this post. I found the comment I writing for his post was turning into a post of my own. Thanks Jay!