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I mean,
I never truly lost him.

We both just kept forgetting
to call each other,
or visit.

For years.

About four years.

The breakthrough contact,
below the divider doodle:

Our parents were both born in 1924,
on different farms,
in Hickory County, Missouri.

Their first date was April 1st, 1947.

Their wedding day was April 21st, 1947.

Our oldest sister,
Adonna,
was born in February of 1948,
Lois was born in February of 1950,
Laura in August of 1952,
me, Mark, in August of 1955,
and Brent in October of 1958.

Our family was an old fashioned family,
one father and one mother,
for all five of us.

We had growing up years that seemed,
at the time,
boring and normal and just okay.

All seven of us
got along well with each other.

Only now,
as adults,
getting to know so many folks
who came from families
with crappy or mean parents,
only now do we see
how lucky we were.

So,
we like us;
we feel as if we are the kind of folks,
loving and caring and honest,
we are the kind of folks we like.

We didn't learn to be
bitter,
angry,
deceptive,
resentful,
grasping,
cheating those around us,
if we can.

We learned,
strictly from example,
and from visiting grandma's farm,
where our sisters helped gather eggs
and milk the cows
(Brent and I were too little)
from all those things,
and from the way our father always brought home a paycheck,
and our stay at home mother
always cooked supper for us,
from all that,
we learned that you simply do what must be done,
to feed your family,
as a family.

No separate anything.

Our parents never preached it to us.

They never preached anything to us.

They seldom even gave us chores.

I think they were glad to give us a life
without splitting wood for the stove,
or going to the outhouse
on a cold night.

Why would they preach about a thing
they no longer wanted?

But even in the world of
eggs from the fridge,
not the hen house,
their example of making certain
our meals were large,
and home cooked,
and on time,
and all our ailments
were given due concern,
and proper remedies,
with a trip to the ER,
when parental wisdom was in doubt,
all this taught us,
accidentally,
the most basic lesson,
the best lesson:
take care of your family.

So.

After at least four years
of no contact with my brother,
because of lack of effort,
and wondering if he had some reason
he did not call back
after my new bride
left many messages,
after all that,
we were simply on his side of town,
and,
on a whim,
Tonia said,
turn down his street,
and lets see if we can catch him at home.

And we did.

He was building a bathroom cabinet.

We both looked at each other,
and told each other,
when we were babies,
in the fifties,
our father was doing the same thing.

Brent said,
our father is right here,
in this work.

Not buying a ready made particle board cabinet,
and installing it,
but building a cabinet,
from lumber.

I introduced my brother and my wife;
we walked to his garden;
he gave us some tomatoes,
some peppers,
and some herbs:
sage, rosemary, and thyme.

(Like the old Simon and Garfunkel song,
but without the parsley.)

Smells go to the emotional center of the brain,
so that made our time together feel
magical,
amazing,
very satisfying.

My brother told me I'm a great writer,
when will you publish a book,
he said.

I'm crying,
tears of joy,
as I write those words.

I can't write any more,
right now.

I intend to write more,
about my brother,
and my wife,
and her brothers,
and how family,
and very close friends,
are the key to happiness,
the key to survival.

Thanks for reading.

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