Thursday, July 29, 2010

Like father, like son

A while back, I wrote "Like mother, like daughter." It was a commentary on how much alike we are, my daughter and I.

But this is not about my son, even though he, too, is a lot like his father, in the best possible ways.

It's about my father and my one and only brother.

I am sure my Dad, upon learning he and Mom were expecting a baby, was thinking, Oh, boy...a son, a son...

He had a girl. Then another girl. Then twin girls. Then yet another girl. But he couldn't possibly have been happier, or loved us more.

Then he was surprised with Baby #6. A boy this time. Norman Elmer, his middle name my Dad's name.

High aspirations had he for this son of his. He'd teach him woodworking. Bowling. His son would join the US Navy, then the American Legion. Take over his printing business. Smoke a pipe. Cherry blend tobacco.

My brother never learned woodworking. Was against the Vietnam war and the military, in general; thus, never joined the US Navy. Never bowled. He grew his hair long, wore a ponytail, and later had long, curly hair. He joined a rock band.

He did, later in his working life, learn Dad's printing business and is now the sole owner. He also pursues his music career and is today a successful, and excellent, drummer.

Dad, however, was always very proud of his son. Though they appeared to be opposites, they are really very much alike. Identical in character. Identical in the ways that matter. They had a special bond.

I remember a time when Dad and Norm were wrestling on the floor. Dad had Norm pinned down on the carpet and Norm could barely breathe. But he looked up at Dad, laughing, and choked out the words: "D'ya give? D'ya give?"

We lost Dad to Alzheimer's disease in 2003, but Norm is the very image of him; so alike in so many ways. He resembles him not only in looks, but in heart and soul. In his love for his wife, Brenda, his own son, Alex, and his little granddaughter Lily.

My Dad was known for the joy he gave to children, and Norm matches that trait perfectly. Chasing after Lily in a playful manner, it is like watching Dad all over again.

My brother is often overshadowed and overpowered by all of his strong-willed sisters. But he can stand his own over all of us in character. He is my Dad, through and through.
Dad in his Navy uniform, Norm and Alex (1998)

You can't get any finer than that.