Friday, January 05, 2007

It Just Gets Better!

Mike actually took me up on my offer to stay with us for Christmas weekend! I picked him up Friday afternoon and we drove the rough hour south to our little house. While in the car, one of the people at the food bank called to tell him that the King County Journal was running a story they'd interviewed him for in their Christmas day issue. Of course she called back on Christmas day to tell him his story made the FRONT PAGE! We pulled it up on the computer so that Mike could read it. Later that afternoon the whole family came over to our place for Christmas dinner. Let me tell you that this was my first time hosting - it's been either Kim or Mom since we all moved back here - and suffice it to say, I now know what NOT to do. I may be ready to do it again in two or three years... Anyway, the laptop was passed around so that all could read the article. Mike's two kids showed up and sat with him at dinner. I'm struck by the awkwardness of it. His daughter was just 8 when he dissappeared and is now 20, she was without a dad longer than she was with him. They were so close during those 8 years though, and now, it's like getting to know a stranger. It's sort of like that for me too. Mike is 11 years older than me. We moved up here from the LA area of So. California in May of 1969, at the end of my kindergarten year and his junior year of high school. Molly and I finished out the school year up here, but Mike and Kim stayed down in California until June (Kim is 13 years older than I am and Molly is just 4 years older). As Mike puts it, he spent every weekend for 6 months prior to moving up here at the beach with friends only to be greeted by 6 weeks of rain after joining us. No wonder he vowed that after his 18th birthday in June of 1970 to move back down to So. Cal. - which he did. So I was six when he left, I never really got to know him. He did move back up, obviously, and married and started a family while I was still in college. This was my first opportunity ever for some one on one time with my brother and it was so, so good! And, as it says at the top of the page, it just gets better; the day after the King Co. Journal article ran, someone gave Mike a motor home! A local man read the article and was so moved that they actually gave him (well, sold for a dollar...) a motor home! You know, there have been so many stories this winter of families being torn apart by tragedies - we followed with increasing saddness the news of the three hikers lost on Mt. Hood and the Kim family in Oregon. My brother is my silver lining, we are a family that has been brought back together. We are so lucky.