Friday, July 2, 2010


There are surprises that are not so good. Those surprises are like..."Surprise! You screwed up your taxes and owe....." or "Surprise! The city is working on the water lines and is shutting off the water for the rest of the day." just about the time you started two weeks worth of laundry, or "Surprise! Your rent is increasing again this year." Those kind of surprises I can easily live without.

But yesterday I had a surprise that I will take any old time. In the middle of the afternoon my phone rang. It was my brother. We chatted for just a minute and then he said that if I would come downstairs and open the door, we could chat in person. He was standing in the parking lot of my building!

After letting him in, I made a pot of coffee. In our family, coffee is one of the necessities of life. When I was growing up, I rarely remember seeing my Mother at home when she didn't have a cup of coffee within easy reach. And when I would go to Blackduck to see my Dad, my first question for him was always, "You got the coffee pot on?" He always did. There were times when my parents would ask me to drive them places, usually if the trip was a great distance from their home. They both were good for about an hour of driving, and then I would have to find a place to pull over so Dad could get out his thermos and they could have their coffee. Dad always said that he was "getting coffee hungry."

Kelly and I sat at my kitchen table drinking our coffee and talking of many things. He was in the area to take some tests that would take him up the next rung of the ladder at his job. Although I am still not sure exactly what a "Boilermaker" does, I can tell that he works hard. It is not the job for the lazy or the faint of heart. I do know that he earns every penny he makes. He tells me about working high in the air like a steel worker or in an enclosed area where he has to wear a gas mask because of acid fumes. I couldn't do it. It would scare me to death. Or kill me off. Or both.

We laughingly tell each other about our various aches and pains, just like a couple of old farts! I have reached the official "old fart" stage, but he isn't quite there..........yet! We can complain to each other like this because we understand each other. We both know what arthritis feels like, and we don't like it. And once in a while it just feels good to bitch a little bit. And we know that the other one gets it. The funny part is, even though our bodies seem to be unraveling a bit, we still feel like kids, inside. Well, maybe not kids, but young. I don't know about him, but there are times when I look in my bathroom mirror in the morning and wonder who that old woman is. The one who is staring back at me. How did she get into my bathroom. She bears no resemblance to the person who lives inside of me.

We talk about our families, what they have been doing and how they are all getting along. We marvel at the fact that between us we have thirteen grandchildren. You throw my sister's grandkids into the mix, and that's a whole lot of grandkids among we three siblings. When we were young, I never in the world would have thought that one day I would be sitting drinking coffee with my brother and be bragging on our various and assorted grandkids! Of course, when I was still young, I never considered the possibility that we would ever be old enough to have grandkids. It is amazing how that happens. Sort of sneaked up on us while we weren't looking.

When I am with my brother, our conversation usually turns toward our parents. Kelly says that once in a while he will see something old - a piece of machinery or a tool - and not know what it is. He says that it always crosses his mind that he will ask Dad, because Dad will know. I find that when I am entering information into my genealogy program, I think that I will have to ask Mom or Dad about an aunt or uncle, cousin or grandparent, because they will know. It hurts us that we can't. So we talk of the good times and the funny things that happened over the years. Laughing is easier than crying. Goodness, but I miss them.

All too soon Kelly has to leave. He has a meeting to attend and I understand that. I just hate to see him go. But I am so very glad that he wanted to spend time with me and was able to spend a couple of hours over coffee and conversation. Some surprises are really good surprises, and this was one of them. I love you, brother.

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