Sunday, August 14, 2011

a shared room is forever

Uncle John on his porch
I call my younger brother John most Sunday mornings.  I need to wait until almost 10:30 CDT because he lives just a few miles south of British Columbia and a scant few just east of Puget Sound. He rises early enough, but prefers to talk after he has had time to fully wake up.

He is just two and a half years behind me in age but, at 6'8", a full eight inches taller. His voice has the tone of a bear in springtime asking for a fresh cup of coffee. When he was in HS we called him Lurch. He had that kind of presence. Generally, he is a kind soul, but when angry he is like a bear in springtime without a cup of coffee.

As kid's we shared a bedroom.  He would steal my comics. Sometimes I would get them back. Other time's he would hide them in the attic and disavow any knowledge of how the got there... except we  all knew he was the only one who went into the attic.  It was his cave when we were kids.

Now he lives on six or so acres in northern Washington.  His wife is a Canadian.  They have apples and pears and cherries and kiwi that they grow and press into juice or make jams and jellies, depending on how plentiful the harvest was; when it is a good harvest he mails me a box of jam at Christmas. His wife cans salmon and halibut and fixes the plumbing.  He tends to the chickens and geese, which they give names to, but subsequently eat. He once told of having to buy a slingshot to shoot at the eagles that would perch in an old dead tree on the property and prey on his chickens.  Finally he just cut down the tree. His chickens are truly free range and he rounds them up at night.  I think he buys them comic books, too, just so he can steal them.

I remember driving with him from Wisconsin to Idaho back in '77 when he first moved west, but before he moved to Washington. His old Pinto station wagon would not make it up a mountain in Montana, four-cylinder cars need more air than mountains will give, and I had to push it up the last few feet.  Then he scared the shit out of me driving down.  He likes mountains. I visited once and we went camping in the Olympic mountains.  His idea of camping is just a sleeping bag, some granola bars... and a pint of whiskey. Maybe a flashlight.  I think I preferred sharing a bedroom with him rather than a mountain, but he taught me then that reading stars can be more entertaining that comic books.

They are having a party next week, always the last week in August, when their Canadian friends come down from Vancouver and they harvest blackberries and drink wine and sit around grilling Salmon, playing music, smoking dope and eating fresh veggies.  I hope to go next year.

It is almost time to give him a call.  I hope he has had his coffee, see, I wouldn't want to talk to him when he is grouchy.  He may steal my comics....but that would be ok, cause once you share a bedroom with a brother..... it is almost better than sharing parents.

10 comments:

Ahab said...

A man of the earth who gardens, raises birds, and reads the stars. He sounds like a cool guy!

squatlo said...

That's one of the most touching (and revealing) odes to brotherhood I've ever read. Dude, you oughta be paid mighty sums of cash for your way with words! I feel blessed just knowing this shit is free to read whenever you take the time to drop a line or two onto the blobber.

Your brother is lucky to have someone like you to steal comics from, in my opinion.

I'd make the trip over to see those folks whenever they'd have me, if I were you. Eagles, blackberry jam, wine, grilled salmon, good music, smokes, and a woman who can fix the plumbing? Shit, I'd bring some Jack Daniels from the local distillery and introduce them to home-grown salsa, complete with 'maters, jalapenos, habaneros, cilantro, and onions for their chip dippin' party.
Great mother fucking post!

Sherry Peyton said...

Sounds like a couple that Parker and I would feel right at home with. Sounds like they are way off the grid and much better for it. Thanks for another peek into your wonderful family.

nonnie9999 said...

i shared a room growing up with my older sister. i wish i felt the same way about her as you feel about your brother. the love practically jumped off the page. i bet he loves you just as much.

Leslie Parsley said...

Goodness. And I could barely stand sharing the whole house with my brother, much less a room! I like this story and think you're both very lucky.

Gavrillo said...

Used to travel,a lot,in my business and a meal at a cafe in Vancouver where they'd swing open windows with a view to the public beach and ocean while eating fresh grilled fish is a poignant memory. I wish I could get my wife to do plumbing. She's pretty good at canning, though, putting up some man green beans called Zydeco from a great book called the Joy of Pickling.

Distributorcap said...

you are one heckuva story tella --- how great

snoringdogstudio said...

I like you more and more all the time. Your brother is fascinating - like you. He and Gavrillo would have a lot to talk about!

okjimm said...

.... he really is a nice guy. I wish I was closer. I just am thankful for free weekend minutes on the cell phone.... cuts the distance a bit.

Snoring Dog.. you flatter me too much.... I am a mean,vicious person in real life. but I over compensate well. ;) Thanks

Sue said...

stop it, you are not mean!! Why not move near your brother if you have the urge to move? You guys would have a blast!

Loved the story Jim...as always

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