Sunday, July 27, 2008

On the ninth anniversary of my brother's death, I find myself asking what he would have been like if he would have lived. He died when he was just 40, in 1999. He was so worried about the millennium, and then he didn't live long enough to see that it was all okay. Our computers didn't grind to a halt, banks didn't go into crisis, and those people that stocked up on food and water and cash did a whole lot of work for nothing.

He never had to endure 911 and its aftermath. He didn't have to have his faith in his fellow man shaken to the core. I have to admit he already had enough shake ups in his faith before he died. His world was changing too fast, and all that he believed in was crumbling before him. He was such a fragile guy in so many ways, and yet so down to earth and funny.

If he would have lived through that last day - if he wouldn't have died, how would it be now?  Being the loving and caring guy he was, I would bet he would have eventually gotten things back on track for himself, and he would have moved on with his life and been better for it in the end. He was a straight shooter who wouldn't hurt another person deliberately for anything.

What would he look like today? He would be prematurely gray and handsome. His kind face would have softened even more with age. He did have the spinal degenerative disease, and he might have been stooped over, or he might have been able to have surgery to straighten his back and fuse it that way. We all worried about him fusing bent over, and he was so self conscious of his disability. It wasn't fair that he had to have that, but it was what it was.

If he were alive today, he would be so pleased to see how his nieces and nephews have grown up, and he would have been thrilled to meet the nephew he didn't get to know as a child. He would chuckle as they reminded him of the crazy stories he used to tell them. He would go out of his way to get those kids scratching their heads and wondering if Uncle Bob was on the level about some of those fables. My favorite was when he told them that birds can sit on high line wires and not be electrocuted because they always perch with one leg raised. He would laugh his hearty laugh as he watched them sneak up to the wires and peer up into the sun, trying to see if those birds really were sitting with one leg up. I'm not sure they have stopped checking on that story, even now.

How I would love to be able to feel his reassuring arm around my shoulder in times of worry or distress. He was always there when I needed him most, and he said the right things to make me feel better. After he could see I was coming out of a sad spell, he would hit me with his trademark comeback, "Ya Knucklehead!" after which he'd laugh his hearty, one of a kind laugh. I'm really not so sure I don't feel that reassuring arm now and again, and his laughter still rings in my ears.

There's so much he would have loved the hell out of in the world of today. I think he would have liked Uncle Kracker as much as I do. That music always makes me think of him somehow. It brings back memories of the times when he would have all of the kids following him as he led them in a parade of silliness. I smile to remember it.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

My sister lives in a townhouse right across from mine all summer. Today we had one of our epic summer days. We are both batching it this week and have the ability to do pretty much as we damn well please. Today we decided to go to a film. We picked My Winnipeg. We both love indie films and are game for almost anything, even subtitled animated films like Persepolis (which I found myself getting quite lost in, actually).

Since we grew up near Winnipeg, we thought it would be interesting to see that film, especially since the description of the film sounded like something light-hearted and comedic. We walked in with high hopes toting our expensive designer water, chocolate covered strawberries and a bag of popcorn to share. About 45 minutes into it, JMR looked over to me and asked, "What do you think?" I wasn't sure how to answer that. I fancy myself to be somewhat educated and savvy, and more than willing to take a mental romp through all kinds of movies and films. However, in this case I really didn't know what to make of this one. It wasn't funny, not particularly pleasing to the senses, and in the end we couldn't figure out if it was a documentary or a mockumentary. We concluded it was probably the latter and strangely eating a dinner of broccoli and rice, or, we decided to seek out another film to give us that uplifted feeling we were seeking.

Our next choice was Young at Heart. It turned out to be heartwarming, funny, and sad all in one. We laughed, we jammed with the music, and we cried. We fell in love with the people in the band, and it inspired us to realize that we aren't too old to do anything we really want to do. In the end we walked out thoroughly pleased with the idea that we pressed on to see that second film. We left there Young at Heart and uplifted. Just the fix we were looking for.