My brother, Kent, is making a dopey face in this picture, but he's really rather handsome. I won't tell you how old he is, but he is 18 years older then I am. The first time I remember meeting my brother...I know that sounds odd, but stay with me here....was when I was about 6 years old, which put him at about 24.
The front door was locked and the bell rang. I went to the door, but didn't recognize the person standing there so I called to my dad. "Dad, there's a guy here, but I don't know who he is." My brother was dressed in military fatigues and had a scruffy beard. He looked like a homeless man. Kent went to the Air Force Academy and a college in Montana while I was living in New Hampshire. If you couple this with our age difference, it kind of makes sense why we have never been close. It's really no one's fault, as we have never lived in the same house, state or decade.
Kent is still my brother, though and I know in my heart that if I ever asked something of him, he would be there for me. I have two illustrations of this to share with you.
The first example of this happened about 2 days before I was to be married to my now, ex-husband (back in 1992). I received a letter in the mail, basically telling me that I didn't have to go through with the marriage and if I needed somewhere to hide out until things calmed down with the family I could come stay with him in North Carolina, no questions asked. Of course, I look back now and wish I had taken him up on his offer, but then I just thought he was looking out for me. I wasn't mad at all, in fact, I felt very loved.
The next time came when I was going through my divorce (1998) with my now ex-husband. It was a horrible time for me (that's another post) and I felt very alone. One day, out of the blue, Kent called me and after a short conversation, where I vented about my X trying to kick me out of the house (don't ask), he said that if I wanted him and my other brothers to come out here and beat up my (now X) husband, that they would. All I had to do was ask. That's what big brothers were for. To this day, I honestly think that if I had said yes, that he would have done it.
At our recent family gathering, I finally had a chance to talk to Kent and thank him for the letter he wrote and the "beating" he offered. He said the letter was written because he thought I was too young (which I was) and the other was just what any good brother should do. It was a very emotional conversation and I even cried some. For all his quirks, Kent is a wonderfully, smart and funny man and I am very proud to call him my brother. I love you, Kent!