Saturday, July 11, 2015

But enough about me.....

 This is my youngest brother. He is three years younger than I am.  The little guy in the picture is his son.

My brother got married at 24, had three children with his first wife. Then he divorced after 20 years,and married a woman about 10 years younger than him. This presented a problem. She wanted kids.

Moreover, her father knew that his daughter was the last chance for a male grandchild. He refused to give his blessing, without which the woman wouldn't marry my brother.

So  my brother and her father worked out an understanding. My brother underwent painful surgery to reverse his vasectomy. I'm damned if I would have done it for the Queen of Sheba.  But, they had a son, which placated her side of the family.

I am a talker and letter writer.  My brother is a man who believes in taking action. He graduated from Oregon State in 1977, did his four year pay back as a Marine Officer (he was a combat engineer), and then worked for a law enforcement agency in a number of capacities before he transferred to the anti-gang unit of a California urban police department. Inevitably he was injured in the line of duty, and was medically retired. Now he splits his time between a little beach house on the coast, and his home inland.

He has a boat that's capable of going out of sight of land, and he does that frequently, just him and his son. One of these days, I may go out there and visit, but if I do, I'm not going out into the Pacific on the boat.  Maybe up a river would be ok.

My brother lacks a sense of caution, which makes me uneasy sometimes. He's unpredictable.

I've had my own troubles with the Sheriff's Department here when things happened out away from the house that caused me to negatively interact with unpleasant people.

But I can't hold a candle to my little brother.

I always think of him when I watch "Grand Torino" and Clint Eastwood says to the gangbangers " Ever notice how every once in awhile you come across someone you shouldn't have &^%$ed with? That's me."

I have always been really proud of my youngest brother. He's led a life that counted. When he believes in something, he doesn't hold back. I've never known him to be afraid of anything.

Given what he did for a living, I suppose that's a prerequisite for the job.

Better him than me.

I've been in some real third world hell holes in my life, but never alone. It's bad enough going into some places with your comrades around you.  Going in with just indigenous personnel, no thanks.
I've never seen the allure of poverty, dirt, disease and danger. Apparently he saw something I missed.

My brother developed a real affection for South and Central America.

He's been down the Amazon River twice on on clapped out boats that hauled cargo up and down. He just strikes a bargain with the boatman and takes pot luck.

When he made those trips, he stayed with the indigenous people along the banks of the river for weeks at a time. He used to carry old clothes with him in a bag, which he would hand out to his hosts. He is very good at getting along with just about anybody, which is strange considering he has a temper even worse than mine if you cross him.

I never had any interest in being pals with people in the third world.  Never saw much I liked in any of those countries.

Long before it was a "thing" he participated in the Minute Man project down on the Southern border, trying to do something, anything, about illegal immigration. This is what I mean about him being someone who actually does something besides just write letters.

He's old now, but he's still a force to be reckoned with. I've told this story here before, but it bears repeating.  Not so long ago, he was in a bar on the Oregon coast line. He was there with my other brother, and a friend.

There were some late twenties beach bums in there with filthy mouths.  There were women in the bar. My brother told these trashy individuals, once, to either clean up the language or leave.  They mocked him. The picture above was taken just minutes before they made that mistake. There was a horrific fight, in which the younger men learned a salutory lesson about not disregarding a guy just because he has gray hair.

The police came. My brothers and their crony got thrown out of the bar. But no charges were filed. That's the kind of guy my brother is.  He should have been born during the Crusades, because he'd have made one hell of a Knight Templar.

My brother is very religious. He's a Southern Baptist. He's more of an old testament Christian than a new testament Christian.  The world is black and white to him,  there's right and wrong, and he never had an issue with picking which path to take.  Probably now a lot of people would turn their nose up at that kind of man, but we were a damned sight better off when there were more men like my brother.

Warning. Vulgar Language:


  1. You are lucky to have such a brother. As an only child (dad doesn't make the same mistake twice) I never had the pleasure. I am blessed to have interesting friends.

    The toughest thing your brother has done is not all the third world hell hole travel, but having a kid at a later age. That can kill a man. :)

    1. We all told him he was making a huge mistake. When he should have been retired and doing anything he wanted to, he was going to soccer games, going to school plays, picking up his son at school, etc. But he loves his son very much, and they are best friends. I think when his son leaves for college in a few years, my brother will not know what to do.

  2. Your brother having his vasectomy reversed, must really have loved his second wife...!

    He sounds like he has the courage of his convictions, and lives by that. Very admirable. Too many people these days say one thing, and do another. Must be very confusing for their children - no wonder the youth of today are so messed up...!

    1. She's a good woman. His first wife got tired of him always being gone and sought companionship elsewhere. It ended badly for all concerned. He was more fortunate with his second wife.

      He absolutely lives life by the rules. I think it simplifies things for him.

  3. Hey Harry,


    I would really like to take your brother out surfing.

    That would blow his mind and I bet humble him just a bit. The first time a ten foot wave is bearing down on you and your facing the wave trying to paddle to the top with all the energy you have trying not to get launched off the lip of wave. Certain body parts 'pucker up' you could say.
    Also the first time you paddle for and drop onto the face of a ten foot wave, that's another life changing moment.

    Im not a straight forward fighter as your brother is. Yeah' when things get real bad. I will stand and fight, but like you Harry. I'm learned to be a little more careful about what battles to pick. Too often enough, most confrontations nowadays end in gunfire and If I go that route, its because I exhausted all other options and I had no choice.

    Which reminds me.....

    Late this afternoon I was across the street at a friends house helping him with replacing U-joints on a '92 Diesel Ford when we both heard yelling and fighting coming from the rent house behind his house. We looked over the fence and some guy 'yelled, What are you (insert N-word here) looking at. We just turned around and went into my neighbors garage. I asked him if he heard what I thought I heard and my neighbor said yes. For a split second I thought about getting in my truck and going over to that street and getting out of my truck saying, I got your (insert N-word here) with a baseball bat.
    I quickly changed my mind thinking that some battles are not worth fighting.

    Its all great in the movies when a good guy pulls a gun on a bad guy and scares off the bad guy, like in Grand Torino. That is how things should happen. If the bad guy pulls out a gun. Good guy shoots bad guy and no charges are filed.

    In real life. Good guy gets charged with Manslaughter/murder because bad guys have more rights than good guys and it will be made up as racially motivated, hate crime. If good guy has an American flag, he's a conservative nationalist, tea partier. If the good guy has a Confederate flag. He's labeled a white supremist.

    Its a no win scenario.

    1. Well, CC. Everybody has to make their own decisions. One of the incidents that involved me with some local law enforcement was similar to that, at a gas station out on a rural road here. I made a different decision, but I wouldn't care to say which was right. Perhaps, given the circumstances, both were.

      My brother wouldn't be much taken aback by surfing, I don't think. He qualfied as a UDT diver with the USN, finishing the Navy school in San Diego as an honor graduate. This is not SEALS, but UDT requires big brass ones. Part of the final training involved exiting a submarine in San Diego bay, in the dead of night, and swimming along the bottom to the beach using a luminescent compass. Honestly, I don't know of his ever being afraid of anything, though there may have been times I don't know about.

      One thing I have noticed in my life.

      When you are dealing with trash like you were, sometimes backing off is the same thing as chumming the water with blood. If they think you are scared, they'll be back. I know you weren't scared, and I know you live there and didn't want to exacerbate the situation. A big part of why I live way out in the woods away from people, especially when I was just out of the service, is that an incident like that sends me berserk. I could get away with in "the old days" when the Sheriff was a local and the Deputies were locals, and everybody understood that you couldn't let an insult go .
      But now the Sheriff is some jerk from Florida who had enough money to buy the election. His deputies are mostly transplants from Florida. They have exactly the attitude you talk of, where right or wrong have no interface with "the law." They think they're above the common herd.

  4. Sounds like a man from another time. My brother is very different to me as well, much quieter and more considered, I sometimes wish I was more like him.

    1. The times we live in now are pretty much rock bottom, Kev. Maybe that's why I have hardly gone to town since my wife went up North to visit my kids, I'm happier here than I am having to interact with the holiday mob I have nothing in common with. Strange how brothers grow up with the same genes, the same environment, and can be so different, isn't it.

      I wish I lived closer to my brother. He's on one side of the continent and I'm on the other.

  5. Your brother is the kind of guy needed in today's world. But sadly he's 150 years too late. I understand his line of thinking. Once a Marine always a Marine. In some ways We think alike, but I'm cautious. Thanks for write up.

    There are many folks out there who will never understand the French girl, who has probably never met a man who stands by his convictions--is valiant and understands the concept of honor and respect. (Despite my opinion on this Harry she seems like a nice person).

    I recall an advertising quote from the folks at Heckler and Koch: "In a world of compromise, some men don't". I think he fits the moniker quite well. --Troy

    1. He's an anachronism in today's world. But then, so are most of us who hang out here. I know I was once told by an "authority figure" in the county that "you can't do things like that these days." I wondered why not. I haven't changed, so something else must have.

      Nadine seems nice. The French are a lot different in the way they think about some things, but I was never among the crowd trying to run them down as cowards. That, they aren't. It must be a very alien environment for her when she comes here, but I think that would be true for just about any French person. Their situation and our own are light years apart. For instance, the French police take absolutely zero crap from anybody. They just don't. But you know what has happened to our police, and why. Like the old saying goes "I guess you had to be there."

      You'd like my brother. He's a good guy.

  6. Certainly was a better place when there were more like that. That is the type of person you respect, even if you don't agree on something.

    1. It does seem like civility has passed from the scene. Today if you try to have an intelligent discourse with people who don't see things from your perspective, you often wind up with egg on your face. Instead of being seen as courtesy, it's seen as a vulnerability to be exploited.