Tuesday, December 26

Daily Farm Photo: 12/26/06

Reflecting On The Bigger Picture, Remembering The Little Things

When my brother stayed with us on the farm for a month in February of 2005, he made himself useful whenever he could. He convinced the digital thermometer in the kitchen--which I had somehow inadvertantly switched to celsius--to display the temperature in farenheit again. He replaced the starter in my little SUV. He even set the clock on the VCR.

Each of the three doorways that leads in and out of The Shack is equipped with a storm door as well as a wooden door. These storm doors are inexpensive, metal-framed affairs consisting of two thin glass windows with a screen over the bottom window. If luck is with you--and you are willing to sacrifice the use of your fingertips for several minutes afterward--you can push in some painfully stupid sliding thingies and then lift and secure the lower window up over the second one so fresh air can blow in through the screen. If you are heading outside, you push on a small lever to release a tiny latch that holds the door shut, and then push the door outward. If you are coming inside, you must grab the handle, press on a button with your thumb, and then pull the door open toward you.

The storm door we use by far the most leads from the kitchen to a small covered porch. On the porch live three enormous chest freezers, the dog houses and dog food bowls, a cat food bowl, and Smudge the cat (who lives on top of the chest freezers, just out of reach of the dogs). During the fall and winter a wheelbarrow full of firewood also takes up residence there, and we probably make at least a dozen trips in and out each day just lugging in firewood alone.

One day I noticed my brother tinkering with the storm door handle.

"There!" he said proudly. "I fixed this broken latch so now the door stays shut like it's supposed to. It was driving me crazy."

"Well, thanks," I said.

Not long after that, Joe walked purposefully through the kitchen and slammed into the storm door.

"What the--"

"Derek fixed the latch on the door so now it locks shut."

"Ohhhh." And without skipping a beat he called out, "Hey, thanks, man!"

Old habits die hard around here, and Joe and I must have banged into that door twenty times each over the next couple of weeks. The day after my brother left, Joe put the latch back the way it had been, and we both laughed out sighs of relief.

Neither of us had had the heart to tell him that because we use that door so much we keep the latch 'broken' on purpose.

May your memories make you smile more than they make you sad.

A year of Daily Photos ago: In Loving Memory Of My Brother


  1. It's a lovely tribute to your brother, and to your courage in sharing the memories you have of him. I couldn't help but think that maybe it was good that the photo wouldn't upload, because at least for me, it made me go on and read the post since there was no photo to distract me. Sending you loving and peaceful thoughts.

  2. Thanks for sharing this story. I'm sending you a hug.

  3. How brotherly. laughs I also call that "three year-old helpful" because it's so notHelpful yet delivered so earnestly. Hugs and a toast to memories of wonderful brothers clinks glass

  4. That's spot on Susan. A good friend of mine lost her father just this last few days and I know, some time down the line, she'll be ready to laugh at the good memories but right now is going through that hardest of emotions, grief.

    To anyone out there sharing recent bereavement or still struggling with the sadness, your words are truly comforting.

    A belated Happy Christmas to you and every good thought for 2007. X

  5. I have a brother too and I can only imagine how much you miss him. They make us some good memories as much as they might drive us crazy too :)

    Thank you for sharing wonderful memories of your brother.

  6. thank you. and may you, too, find more smiles than sad.

  7. I share the sentiment - as long as things are more good than bad, we can make it through. And it shows when you can laugh at times like those and smile. I lost my uncle last year and even though we all know my Aunt is struggling with missing him so much, she is the first one to laugh or throw her hands up in the air about something he did or something he left behind (a garage full of paint cans and drawers full of perfectly untwisted and organized twist-ties, for instance).

    Life is to be celebrated, and we do so with memories. The more bizarre the better.

  8. Sending you many blessings, FG. The first few holidays right after you lose someone seem to be the hardest. My dad died suddenly in January 1997, and we really struggled on all the holidays that year, and for several years after that. It's better these days, but I still get a little sad sometimes around Thanksgiving & Christmas.

    Thanks for sharing your memories of your brother with us. He sounds like a brother we'd all be lucky to have.

  9. Beautiful reflections, both literal and figurative.

  10. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and personal reflections. My sincere sympathy... I hope for many more smiles than sadness.

  11. What a wonderful memory! How sad to be without your brother, but how wonderful that he has left you with such wonderful memories that leave smiles on all of our faces.

  12. Beautiful final words to your anecdote. A story I can relate to (getting used to things not working quite right and just accomodating, to the puzzlement of those around you). :) I hope this year has been easier for you and you are living according to your own sage words. Best wishes for 2007 and hugs too!

  13. FG,
    Sending a hug your way and a smile for all the beautiful memories.

  14. 'loving' memory, thankyou for sharing it with us. Christmas is always a time that amplifies feelings for me, this year has been difficult, it being the first Christmas without my Mum.

  15. Just wanted to say I somehow stumbled upon your blog and this anecdote about your brother, written so lovingly, really pulled me in. And Joe's response was equally wonderful. My sympathies for your loss.

    Your stories about Cary and all the other animals are just lovely!

    BTW, my verification word is neozugi. Sounds like a good name for a lamb who has Keanu Reeves' Matrix qualities. :)

  16. It made me laugh.


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