Saturday, November 4, 2017


Oceano Dunes, November 4, 2017
He is my big brother. He is all that that title conveys. I have held him up as an idol, the perfection that I believed him to be. And then I realized what an incredible burden that placed upon him. The separation it caused in our relationship. The judgement that it cast upon him.

And, slowly, I let that fairy tale slip out of my thoughts and off his shoulders.

He is my brother. My blood. The family that shared my childhood.

And tonight, like a few days this last summer, I got to be with him and share in his joyous family.

It started with a walk on the beach, watching whales breach the horizon. Listening to his stories and telling mine.

And on the way back... a rainbow.

But the fun had only started.

I had been invited to the 45th Family Weekend of my sister-in-laws family. This year it was held in a B and B in Arroyo Grande. A home converted to guest house use with sufficient bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate the entire clan.

There was much conversation. And much laughter. I even met a fellow drunk (also in recovery) and we shared things that non-drunks don't really understand. (Not that non-drunks don't try to understand. They just haven't been to that village and don't know the language. It's kinda like having someone your own age to talk to.)

And then there was dinner. A wonderful meal prepared by my sister-in-law's brother-in-law. (Got that? My brother's wife's sister's husband.) Salmon fillets and mushroom risotto. OMG!!!! Oh, I forgot to mention a hot shrimp and cheese dip appetizer. Lord, save me from all the calories I consumed!

Many of the folk I had met before but some were new to me. One thing they all shared was a love of each other and a curiosity about the world around them.

I was asked about VAE and touring with that group. I told them about singing in Santa Trinita Church in Florence, Italy. I told them about the amazing food we were fed by villagers in France. I told them what it was like to share those experiences with my daughter. And they, in turn, told me their stories.

But it came down to sitting next to my brother at the dinner table. Talking about our brother Dan. Talking about our kids. Talking about our high school math teacher, Mr. Stephen Hannigan.  Talking about first dates in ages past. Talking about our lives.

It was a wonderful few hours with my brother.

I will treasure it forever.

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