I've been thinking about my brother Jim a lot today, on what would have been his 65th birthday. I've always loved the month of May. Our extended family is full of Geminis: Jim, my Dad, Dave, his dad, my nephew Seamus, two former brothers in law (Tom and Tommy), and almost every one of them male, except for my friend Suzie (the first girl Gemini I'd ever met). I can't help thinking there must be some reason I'm surrounded by so many of them...I have to admit, there's never a dull moment when there's a Gemini or two around.
Anyway, I've been thinking about my big brother a lot today. He was a teenager when I was born, and always seemed more like a grownup than a sibling to me when I was a little kid. By the time I was four or five, he was already in college, and when I was nine, he shipped out for India with the Peace Corps. He married there and had a child, and brought his wife and daughter back to NYC to live with the family in Queens. After a long, incredibly cold and very uncomfortable NY winter, my homesick sister in law returned to India with my niece, ending the marriage, and it would be more than thirty years before he saw them again.
He moved to San Francisco and remarried, starting Duck Soup, a moving and hauling business. When Elmo, his beloved and bedraggled pickup truck finally threw in the towel, Jim turned to driving a Yellow cab to support his growing family.
Jim was a talented musician, able to pick up practically any instrument and make it sing, and was known to break out his accordion with very little encouragement. He was a lover of baseball, photography, humor and writing, and corresponded with our dad for years under the pseudonym "Smead" to Dad's "J.R. Tincup". I remember so many things about him...too many to go into now. I miss him more than I can say. So for now I'll simply say: Happy Birthday, Smead.