The photo above was taken just before he was born. It shows me sitting on my father's workbench, with my very pregnant mother off to one side. (Richard is hiding in there somewhere).
When you're young an age difference of 2 years between siblings is tremendous. Although Richard and I would often hang out and do stuff together, the usual routine was for each of us to do things with neighbour kids closer to our respective ages.
Of course, the one good thing about being Canadian and having a younger brother at that age was that you were always guaranteed to have a goalie for road hockey games. (Even if he didn't want to play, you knew that as his older brother you could always talk, threaten or bribe him into playing net anyway).
As kids our respective personalities could not have been more different. I was always seen as "the serious one", while Richard was adored for his laughter and light-heartedness. In the summertime I was often outside building things like forts out of scraps of wood. Richard, on the other hand, loved books and reading - especially about anything related to history and war. On that note it's little wonder that each of us has ended up on our respective career paths, with Richard going on to earn a Phd. in History at Georgetown.
Along the way Richard adopted an almost nomadic approach to life. Since his late teens I don't think he's ever lived more than 3 consecutive years in any one place. As a result: over the past 30 years he has been a constant traveller - in many cases journeying around the world, often on a diplomatic passport. He has lived and worked in many interesting far flung places, many of which I'll probably never get to see.
Yet, when we get together on holidays I sometimes wonder if he envies a bit of the life I have, with the routine and "stability" of being rooted in one place with my family and work. While that may be true in terms of what he feels, I have to admit there are also days when the grind and responsibility of running a small business has me wishing for a bit of Richard's joie de vivre approach to life.
And, so, to my brother Richard I wish you a Happy 50th Birthday !!!
Although we have already been in touch with one another a couple times today, I can honestly say that at this moment I do not know where, exactly, you are on this planet right now. Yes, my nomadic brother is on the move once again.
That said, it goes without saying that even on this day he is being true to the spirit of who he is, and that is exactly as it should be.
Enjoy your day, Richard !
Love, your brother John.
(P.S. Did you want to play road hockey later? We need a goalie.)
Saturday, July 2, 2011
My Brother Turns 50 Today !!!
My brother Richard turns 50 years old today.