Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Shout Out to the Toad

My brother, Mark, was always the good one until, at least, baby brother, Rex, came along. Mark always was a happy, smiling kid. When he was a toddler, he had tons of curls encircling his dimpled, little face. We girls in the neighborhood dressed him up like a doll, and he looked adorable. No wonder mother loved him so much.

I think, though, that all that made my father a little nervous, because when Mark went along for the ride one day with older brother, Brent, and Dad, he came back thrilled and running on chubby little legs to show mother his shorn locks. All the distance, he ran rubbing his fuzzy little head. His hair wasn't just cut, it was buzzed.

His hair never quite grew back the same. Mother cried. She literally cried. She said she knew what had happened as soon as she heard the whoops of joy from Brent and Mark as they ran down the sidewalk. Maybe she did.

Dad never really apologized. That was the fifties, for sure, when father knew best. But also, I think he might have felt that his actions were necessary, regardless of the outcome. Something like an intervention. I also think Mother probably conceded Dad was right, too. This was the fifties, after all. Hippie days were still more than ten years away. And even then my parents wouldn't have approved. But it was still painful to have her little cherub become just one of the boys. And boys, indeed, it was. I had four little brothers, though Rex was an afterthought of nine years. Afterthought? Wrong choice of words. Surprise he was, though he turned out to be Mom's favorite anyway. More on that later, however.

Carl and I spent ten days with Mark and Marci, Mark's beautiful wife, in Florida in February. Though the weather was definitely better than here, that wasn't what made it wonderful. Mark and Marci made Carl and me feel more welcome than the Spring blossoms. We visited here and there and saw manatees, a state fair, the Gulf of Mexico and where the World Series was played. But better than that, we talked. We talked about everything: the past, the future, secrets, our families, hopes, ideas, doctrines, the economy, you name it, we talked about it. We talked until 2:00 AM a couple of times. We talked constantly as we drove. We began in the morning and didn't stop until it was night. It was perfect. It was a reawakening for me to the joy that family is. My brothers are the best. Their wives are the best. But today, Mark, on your birthday, you are the best. If you were here, I'd squeeze you. You've won my heart again. Your kindness, insights and the enduring happy smiling face are all it takes to make me remember how much I love you. Eat gobs o' cake.


Kris-Tell-Klear (or not) said...

I have seven brothers and sister and they make me as mad as I ever get and as happy as I can!

Linda Aukschun said...

I do hear you on that. Thanks, Kris. I'm so glad I found you.

Linda Aukschun said...

Kris, I did do a better picture of him.

Anne said...

Thank you for the beautiful tribute to my favorite "old man" -- my dad.

Linda Aukschun said...

You are welcome, Anne. There are none better than he.