My Oldest Brother turns 57 on Monday, August 20th.
 
As youngsters we argued and fussed and I got him into trouble.  More than once, I’m afraid.  Our disagreements were so sharp at times that our Sweet Mama would cry and say, “Why can’t our children love each other?”  Our Daddy would smile and say, “My children have spirit.  They are going to go somewhere in this life.”  (It occurs to me that he didn’t say where we were going to go.  He just knew we would do it with all our hearts!)
 
One time, I shot him in the leg with a BB gun.  I didn’t mean to, but I still did it.  And it was during a fuss, so he always thought I did it on purpose!  Looking back, I remember the look on his face before the incident, and it did need dealing with.  I remember the look on his face afterwards, too.  It isn’t a comfortable memory.  There is justice in this old world.  We both got punished.
 
Clint often helped in the kitchen.  Sometimes I had to dry the dishes while he washed them.  Until Mama decided that our argumentive skills needed no sharpening and would make other, less volatile arrangements.
 
I vividly remember the time he got a brand new yellow volkswagen and he let me drive it!  I couldn’t believe it then.  Can hardly believe it now.
 
The year he turned sixteen, Daddy allowed him and Middle Brother and me to go to Tennessee to see our cousins down there.  The boys really didn’t think I should be allowed to go along, but Daddy said I could.  And then, when I left all my hang-up clothes back in Greenwood, and discovered it ten miles out of town and had to go back, it didn’t make for the best beginnings of a trip.  But we went, we survived, and we returned all in one piece.  When I think of sending our Oldest Son off when he had just gotten his license, with Youngest Son and Youngest Daughter in tow — well, let’s just say, IT WOULDN”T HAPPEN!!!  But Daddy had confidence in him, believed that he would be okay, and it was.
 
This past week has been a busy one for him.  He came home from a family cycle trip (he was driving a car) to one of his members in ICU, dying.  She hung on until Monday evening, and then went HOME to Heaven.  There are some difficult things facing his church right now — There was an elder’s meeting this week that went late.  Then Friday, he conducted the funeral (and did a swell job, too!).  He went to the dinner afterwards, mingled with the family and helped to clean up.  Then went from there to his Church Campout/retreat.  Beloved Son-in-law and Eldest Daughter and another couple were cooking for that particular event and the other gal told me late last night, “Your Brother came into the kitchen and encouraged us.  He cut up the cantaloupe and watermelon that needed cutting up and he wouldn’t have had to.  He did it just to be nice.  He sure can cut up a watermelon.  Robert (her husband) has been practicing doing it his way ever since!”
 
There are very few of his nieces and nephews who don’t think the world of him.  Every one of our children have voiced their love and appreciation for him.  Oldest Son, who is a member of his church will often say, “That Uncle Clinton! He’s the man!”
 
I just want to go on record as saying that it has been a long time since my oldest brother and I have had a fuss, quarrel or even a minor disagreement.   The events of our adult lives have revealed more what we have in common than anything else.  And he grew up.  I think I did too.  (That has helped alot!!!)  And God has done a work of grace in each of our lives as siblings that I never would have dreamed possible 40 years ago.  I am so grateful that we have been able to be friends as adults.  I am so thankful that we’ve been able to be a part of the lives of our nieces and nephews.  I know that my life is so much richer because of each one of them.
 
In a recent, sudden death, the family could not find one of their siblings.  They tried everything they knew, but she was nowhere to be found.  Finally, the day after the funeral, she got the message that she was to call home.  It was a terrible thing for her to hear, “We buried Daddy yesterday.”  It is one of those things that has caused me to think again about families and the people that make them up.  Losing Daddy has been the hardest thing for us as a family to work through.  But I cannot imagine what kind of pain it would be to missing someone at a time like that and not be able to find them.  I know that personal choice plays a big factor in situations like this, but I’m grateful for brothers who have forgiven a pesky sister and who are genuinely friends.  I have no desire to be out of their lives.
 
Happy Birthday, Clint.  I surely do love you!
       

6 Comments

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6 responses to “

  1. What a beautiful tribute to your brother!   Thanks also for the message you sent me earlier. Your words were much appreciated.Blessings to you …. and yours. Love you!

  2. I enjoyed every word of this post. He’s blessed to have you for a sister.

  3. Such a nice tribute to your brother,very touching. It reminds me that it isn’t how we start out that is important but how we end up and that sure applies to relationships doesn’t it ? Did you have a nice weekend? I certainly did hope you did also.

  4. This gives me hope as we have our share of squabbles amongst the 6 who are at home. Thanks for sharing. DEW

  5. This is Clint using Elvida’s computer as I don’t have a zanga spot.  Just thought you all ought to know that Mary Ann laid on the positives kinda thick and minimized the negatives of her big brother.  She always had a way with words.  But she is special as is Nel, Mark, Sarah and Alma.  I hope Mom is finally able to breathe easier since we seem to like each other and get along quite well.  Those who know me know the truth and those who don’t just keep in mind that writers take some literary license.  Clint

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