My little bro married my beautiful new sister-in-law on Friday. My brother is a tall man in his thirties, but in my mind, he’s also a shrimpy underoo-wearing kid, relentlessly explaining what “Inquedible Huk” has done and would do in various situations.
There are several years between us, so we never really fought with each other growing up, unlike the blood bath that was life with our middle brother. I looked after my little bro – showed him the ropes. He let me style his hair with curlers and hair spray before our dance parties, and when I turned up the sweet jams – Blondie, the Commodores, Stevie Wonder – he jogged in circles to the music, laughing.
That kid was always laughing, and his smile was pure sunshine, but he was also naughty. When he was really little, he told me he was going to make a movie about a giant monster crab that attacks a woman on a beach. The crab tries to grab the lady but ends up with her bikini top in its pinchers. Then he demonstrated how the woman would run away from the crab. He was watching European TV during a family vacation when he got the idea, but don’t worry, I made sure my parents were informed IMMEDIATELY of his very wrong movie pitch.
It’s probably not easy being the youngest kid, the one everyone else in the family can dish the dirt on, boss around, out maneuver. For this reason, my little bro surprised his older siblings when he grew into a man with his own skill set that was beyond us. For example, he lacks the fear of public speaking. Put him in a packed college auditorium, and if he has a question, he raises his hand. He’s even done stand-up comedy. He’s even bombed doing stand-up, and still, not a bit skittish.
However, the best thing about my brother is his instinct for doing the right thing. Many years ago, my parents learned that a neighbor, an advanced alcoholic, had been living in his own filth for days. When no one wanted to face the disgusting situation waiting inside the home, my brother went in and collected the man out of bed, carrying him to the car that would take him to help. That is who that little Incredible Hulk-head became.
On Friday, when the girls and I met family at the county courthouse, I pictured the civil ceremony in a room with DMV ambiance. Not at all. The ceremony was held in a simple yet festive light-filled room and officiated by a kind man with smiling eyes wearing a purple robe and flip flops. It was a heartfelt ceremony. And believe me, I don't just go around being touched by people getting married these days. It was good.