This is my big brother Jon and me.
He's the one with the movie star smile.
My brother and I are the oldest of ten siblings. Many years ago our family started the Christmas tradition of rotating names for gift-giving so we had one sibling instead of nine to shop and wrap and mail for each year. This year Jon had my name and I was like a little kid on Christmas when I opened the box he sent. First I saw this:
My brother and his wife moved to the Northwest after we did but they managed to stay in one place all these many years since--so they are still Northwesterners.
Inside the bag was this:
I'm not sure what magical materials were woven and sewn together to make
this amazing thing of warmness--but I pronounced it mine and have had to fight off
boys and dog and cat to keep it away from their pet hair and boy smell. Sam wrapped up in it only once. I heard his exclamations of joy and as I pulled it away I told him:
"Forget you ever felt it. You must never touch it again."
It has kept me from frostbite and hypothermia this "coldest winter on record" out here in our winter wonderland and I am grateful to my thoughtful brother and his wife for helping me survive.
But wait! That's not all!
My brother serves as a counselor in the Stake Presidency in their stake in Washington and the stake clerk happens to be in their ward and also happens to be Ken Jennings. You know, that guy who won Jeopardy a million times. And he wrote a book. My brother informed him that my blog had that title first.
Don't worry, the lawsuit is pending.
But in the meantime--how fun is that! Jon got him to sign it and he apologized for stealing my title.
But, Gentle Reader, I saved the best for last. Also in the Christmas box was an envelope of pictures. They were familiar pictures but I hadn't actually laid eyes on them for at least 30 years. As I shuffled through them my heart was warmed by sweet memories of my childhood with a kind, protective brother and I was thoroughly entertained by the commentary my brother had included in the form of sticky notes.
That's our Grandpa Hansen in the background. We loved to tag along with him--he didn't have a farm but he often took care of the livestock for farmer friends if they were laid up or had to be away from the farm for some reason. That jacket I am wearing hung near the backdoor of our Hansen Grandparents' house and was always there when I visited. When someone started putting that jacket on me I would get so excited because I knew I was going somewhere. It was Twin Falls, Idaho--so, you know, somewhere exciting.
This one didn't have a note--but he's probably wearing those same brown shoes.
(He didn't end up pigeon toed so thank goodness the problem was corrected.)
This is actually us the evening of Orem High's Homecoming dance.
We were double-dating. I was going with his best friend and he was going with mine.
He married my best friend-- but I was a player back in the day--what can I say?
This was also in the box--a very useful gift.
So, thank you Jon. I am counting this as your thank you note.
Now I have two things I can check off my To Do list.
(More stories of my brother's brotherliness here.)