Tribute to my brother Chris
January 16, 1972 - April 14, 2017
*See note about video above including music, rights, etc.
My brother Chris. I don’t even know where to begin. No words are truly adequate enough to honor him. He was my little brother. He hated being referred to as “little” though. And I think he was always taller than me after the 5th or 6th grade or so.
Me at 5’4”: How’s the weather up there?
Chris at 6’4”: Sunny & hot!
Me: Well, I’m enjoying the shade right here in your shadow.
Not All Shadows Are Bad
Chris not only cast a shadow on me because of his height; but he cast a shadow on my life. Even as the younger brother, he outshined me in every way. There are people in our hometown that didn’t even know he had an older sister until years later! For those who did know, I was “Chris’ sister.” That was my name.
Everything he touched turned to gold. I used to call him Midas. He hated it when I called him that.
We had sibling rivalry, I guess. We fought a lot when I was growing up. He put his foot through my hollow bedroom door once. He was chasing me and I ran into my room and shut the door and he kicked it - his foot went through the door. Another chase through the house I vividly. My mom was ironing. (You might be surprised at how many of my memories of childhood involve my mom ironing.) Our kitchen ran a good length in the front of the house. Our living room ran right behind it at the back of the house. There were openings at each end of the kitchen that led to the living room. So, Chris got to chasing me for who knows what reason in circles through the living room and kitchen while my mom ironed. I was tired. I was NOT the track star of the family (that would be him).
My mom said nothing. She did nothing… but iron.
I finally got enough ahead of him (I was better than him at those turns around the corners) that I got around the corner coming out of the kitchen and into the living room - and I stopped. It all happened so fast. He came around that corner and I unleashed all of my frustrations out on him in one big thrust and shoved him HARD into the living room wall. In fact, if memory serves, there was a dent in the living room paneling. I scared myself. My strength. I was scared about how much trouble I was gonna be in for that kind of violence against my brother. I look to my mom..
My mom? Kept on ironing without a word.
Oh no, this might be bad! Mom’s silence in that kind of situation wasn’t always a good thing. But I was also exhilarated. Chris had stopped chasing me! He was stunned. And I don’t think he ever chased me around the house like that again. I don’t know how old we were. I remember the paneling was dark - so it was before my parents painted it white. So, my guess would be I was in junior high at the time. We would have been fools to think mom hadn’t noticed. She told my dad when he got home. My dad dealt with us and our shenanigans. I’m sure we got into trouble. But what I do remember how great it felt to have turned the tables on my brother for once. Those moments were so few and far between. I could (and might) write a book about all the memories of my brother.
I played JV tennis in high school I wasn’t great. But I had some skill and I gained a ton of confidence through that experience. My granddad came over to watch me play when I was in Pampa. It is one of my most fondest memories of my granddad. It meant so much. No one came to watch me play. My brother was worthy of spectators though. He played tennis in high school. He did really well.. just as he did with every sport he participated for. I got so excited when I made contact with the ball in T-Ball I would forget to run to first base (because that didn’t happen often). My brother would hit home runs.
I loved photography and design. He came along and had a natural eye for it. He outshined me in those arenas as well.
People thought we were so different. And really, we aren’t with a few exceptions of his extroverted personality and athleticism. He just cast a shadow from towering above me in skills and height.
And I made peace with that. And his shadow. He threw shade better than anyone. I was lucky when it landed on me.
I plan to return to this page and add photos and more Chris stories including our last conversations and a poem I’m working on.
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Tribute Video: by Me
I Don't Own The Music Or The Words. All credit goes to rightful owners. See the YouTube Video for license information.
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