My Brother

After a brief discussion with a friend today which included a nostalgic trip down 90's gangster rap memory lane, I decided that The Notorious B.I.G, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and The Doggfather himself should accompany me on my ride home from work. I dug into Google Play, unearthed "Notorious Thugs" and cranked the radio to an unreasonable volume.

I was immediately transported back to the passenger seat of a purple Mazda MX-3. The year was 1997. I lived in Huntsville, AL. My brother and I were driving down Holmes Avenue on the way to S.R. Butler High School where we would spend the day navigating a convoluted spoke system of color coded hallways while trying to care about boring knowledge some of the teachers were attempting to aggressively jam into our heads (looking at you Mr. Bellis).

Admittedly I don't remember much about my formidable years, nothing that I apparently deemed worth remembering at least. Yet whenever I cast my memories back there and attempt to fish specifics from the hazy, bubbling cauldron of my memory, I can always seem to reel in a sense of togetherness felt for my brother.

I am thankful today for my brother.

Yes he is the same brother that dumped me in a trash can at a high school pep rally. I was even then able to see the joking and weirdly loving quality of that act.

Similar to the relationship I have with my parents, ours is one separated both by geographical distance and a gap in communication attempts. Recently he has decided that our relationship should be stronger than what it,until recently, was, not that it's necessarily broken or anything, just lacking. He was determined enough to start calling me once a week so we could remain connected until the day I can return my family to the mother ship.

In two days, my brother will officially end his service with the U.S. Army Reserve, a career that spanned 20 years (four of those on the active side) and saw his family traverse multiple major life events. I am thankful for him as my familial brother and my brother in arms. I am also proud of his service.

I don't think I ever say it, and if I do I don't say it enough, but I love you man. We've come such a long way from high school. You married a phenomenal, educated, family oriented, strong woman with whom I've clashed greatly over the years (water under the bridge I hope) and you helped bring up a well mannered and awesome child whom anyone should wish to emulate in their offspring.

I am thankful today for my brother.

Also, AJ doesn't get photo credit for this one. Sure I knew her when this photo was taken but she was nowhere near Fort Jackson at the time.

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