My brother played the guitar, as long as I can remember him I remember him playing his Gibson guitar. Most of my friends, their musical tastes go back to 1976 or so, but I go back to the late 50s, because my big brother made sure I got to hear all the music, rock music, that he grew up loving and learning to play.
My brother’s most favorite music was, I’m bold enough to guess, Frank Zappa, Santana, The Beatles, The Stones. Like him I never quite embraced The Who, but I think we both liked The Kinks. I don’t think he ever took to disco, but I think he forgave me for it.
My brother collected Presidents from the A&P when I was a kid. I used to play with them, use them as bowling pins with marbles, and mess up their order on the styrofoam shelf. He was (mostly) nice about it.
My brother liked to play wiffle ball, and stick ball, and ice hockey.
My brother liked to tinker with things, repair things. I think it began with old cars, but it didn’t stop there. He liked retro, vintage, black and white. It didn’t matter to him if it was old and beat-up. He found it valuable and usually could shine it up again.
My brother especially loved old radios. He liked the huge cabinet models and the smaller models, and he could get them going again. I have one in my kitchen he gave me at Christmas along with figurines of Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinx.
I remember my brother as handsome, and sweet, and helpful. He could eat two Thanksgiving dinners in a row and still wear his high school jeans. Levis.
I can still hear his voice. I can still see the funny little way he walked, feet turned out like my mom but wearing Chuck Taylors, always Chuck Taylors. I can still remember all the jokes he made, and how he laughed at his own jokes.
My brother left us suddenly yesterday.
All the old people in the family loved my brother, the first child of any of their children, as if he was an extra son for them all. And while I cry today, I know, somewhere, all those grandparents, and the great aunts and uncles, are all today a good deal happier to be in his company once again.