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O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Here’s Pat Jordan at his best. A first-person essay on his relationship with his brother:

My brother doesn’t know where I live. He doesn’t know who my friends are. He doesn’t know I have two new puppies. He doesn’t know I am talking again to my daughter after 20 years. He doesn’t know if Susan is still well and free from cancer. He doesn’t know if I am well or sick, working or not, vigorous or an old man. I know nothing about him either. I have not talked to him in three years. I have not seen him in five. I have seen him only three times in the last 12 years, at my house in Florida in 2000, at our mother’s funeral in 2002, and at my father’s funeral in 2005. He doesn’t know what I look like now, at 69, whether I have gained or lost weight, whether I have lost my hair like Dad, or still have it like him. But I know what he looks like because he has never aged. He looked old when he was young, but when he got old he looked the same. He’s 83 now. With short hair like Brillo, a long horsey face, and small eyes (his friends called him “Moose”). A tall, sturdily built man with a vise-like handshake that made me wince, his reminder that he would always be stronger than me, like a solid oak unbending in the wind, while I would always be a sapling whipped by the wind until uprooted.

At my mother’s funeral in 2002, my father, my brother, and I greeted mourners in the back of the church in our hometown of Fairfield, Conn. My brother, 6’4″, wore his Ivy League suit from J. Press Clothiers in New Haven, and his wing-tipped cordovan shoes, as sturdy as Dutch clogs. My father, 5’6″, at 92, wore his navy blazer with brass buttons and his regimentally striped tie. I, 6’1″, wore my black leather sport jacket, jeans, and work boots. I had long gray hair and a white beard. My father looked at me and said, “You look like a bum.” My brother said, “Leave the kid alone, Dad. He came all this way.” My brother always defended me to my father. That’s why he always called me “the kid.” It was a sign of affection. To him, I would always be “the kid”; it was his way of excusing my behavior among adults. And whether my brother realized it or not, it was a way to diminish me. Which was the problem, one of them anyway, which is also why, at 69, I have reconciled myself to the possibility that I will never see my brother again.

Categories:  Bronx Banter  Pat Jordan  Sportswriting

Tags:  Pat Jordan  slate

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1 edoubletrouble   ~  Jun 30, 2010 10:27 am


2 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 30, 2010 10:43 am

Heavy, right?

3 RagingTartabull   ~  Jun 30, 2010 10:52 am

thats some family...

4 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 30, 2010 11:12 am

Agita, thy name is Jordan.

5 Just Fair   ~  Jun 30, 2010 11:48 am

Life's too short. I could pull that off with some non-blood asshole. But a sibling. Yeesh.

6 thelarmis   ~  Jun 30, 2010 2:15 pm

life's too short. brothers are too important.

i just bonded with mine over the cardboard gods book i recently got him for his birthday. he just had his 3 kids call me over the weekend. we email about music and baseball and such everyday.

the above story is sad.

7 nettles   ~  Jun 30, 2010 2:17 pm

Reminds me of my relationship with my sister. Ugh. But a masterful piece of writing, to be certain.

8 joejoejoe   ~  Jun 30, 2010 2:35 pm

It just takes two people picking up a grudge over something to get in this circumstance. That's why pride is considered a sin. You pick up a grudge over something small and then feel too big to lay it down.

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