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Another fun Sunday afternoon with the family. While Jared slept, Melinda and I continued to recall other “favorites” in our growing up years. It’s a bit of a “don’t tell [fill in the brother’s names], but [brother] is my favorite. So she and I slipped off into a corner to talk about our favorite brother. We all agree that Justin, Chad, and Mitch are the best brothers ever, yes, even with all of Chad and my arguments. But Melinda and I and Kate all tend to gravitate toward one brother in particular. So, here we go. (Kate was visiting from the city that weekend, so she had her say in this too.) You can read other favorites in the Archives >>
2. Our Favorite Brothers
My Favorite Brother
I suppose it comes as no surprise that my favorite brother is Justin. It did not start out that way. I hardly knew Justin, actually, for the first few years of my life. He was away studying law for four years and only came home for holidays and summer break. I was so little and he seemed like a grown-up stranger. I felt mostly shyness around him.
All of that changed when Justin graduated and set up his law practice in Fresno. He is sixteen years older than I am, and even twenty seems old to a four-year-old child. He was awfully young for a lawyer, but he worked hard. He also lived on the ranch so he could get to know me better. He and I really bonded after Father died when I was five and a half. Justin took over as substitute father and all the love I showed to Father, and Father showed to me, was transferred to this tall, understanding young man. After that, there was no question who my favorite brother is. Even when he’s scolding me (like in the picture above), it’s all right. I listen to Justin like I would listen to Father. It was hard when he married and moved to town, but my fears never were realized (that he would abandon me and devote all of his time to Lucy and his own family). Nope, Justin is just the same, and I love him for it!
Melinda’s Favorite Brother
I should have known that the two “Ms” (Melinda and Mitch) would be close. Melinda confessed that although Justin stepped in to help both sisters work through Father’s death, Melinda was ten years old. She loved Father, but she was not as devastated as I was. She simply drew closer to her big brother Mitch. They are five years apart, but Melinda told me that Mitch always tried to include her in his activities. She played with Mitch and his best friend Peter (whom she ended up marrying. Imagine that!) when she was little. I figured she liked Mitch best because he is blond, like she is. She insists that has nothing to do with it. I adore Mitch, but I don’t have the close bond with him that Melinda does. They are nearly twins in looks and in personality. It was inevitable that he would be her favorite.
Kate’s Favorite Brother
I was sure that Justin would be Kate’s favorite brother. I saw how they greeted each other when Kate blew back into our lives all those years ago. I was twelve and figured I held the special spot in Justin’s heart, and nobody else could enter. Yes, quite young and selfish, wasn’t I? It was terrible to see Justin greet Kate as if she had been gone for only ten days rather than ten years, with a fond casualness. He acted toward her like everything would take up right where they left off. I could tell from that one look and greeting that Justin and Kate had been close.
But apparently, I’m never too old for a surprise. Kate told me that as much as she loved and respected our oldest brother, Chad was her close playmate and favorite brother. Justin was “protector.” Chad was “comrade in arms.” They are only two years apart, and since Justin often preferred to read and study, Kate and Chad were left to their own devices. Two of a kind, they were full of mischief. They got in and out of too many scrapes to count.
Which, when I think about it, helps me understand how angry and hurt Chad was when Kate ran away from home at fifteen (with that scoundrel and con man, Troy Swanson). Come to find out, Chad was affected the most by what he felt was a betrayal by Kate of her mother and father, and of her brother. He was also hurt that he couldn’t get her to see reason. Seems that my big sister Kate might even have Chad outmatched in determination, which probably frustrated him no end.
You can see that Chad is not in a very forgiving mood in the picture. It was a couple of weeks after Kate came home. She finally cornered him in the sitting room (according to Kate, who told me the story to write in my journal) and determined to have it out with him once and for. “Either forgive me or ask me to leave,” Kate begged. “But I can’t bear to see your scowl over dinner or have you walk off when I try talking to you.” That melted Chad, and sure enough, they resolved their issues and Chad welcomed her back into the family. I thought I was the last holdout, and with good reason, but no. It was Chad.