Sunday we met up with Brian at the NC Zoo. One of our mutual 2014 goals is to try and meet up every 2-3 months on a Sunday 1/2 way between us. This is a little more driving for Brian, but well worth the trip. Granted it wasn't the greatest day for a zoo trip and we practically had the place to ourselves due to the overcast, cold January weather, but the boys got out some much needed energy and Brian and I got to catch up. Plans for a summer joint mountain vacation and the very sketchy idea of us sharing a time share as an investment came up. Likely pie in the sky due to the money, but any amount of time spent with him is always good for my heart. I put together a quick puzzle to guess where we were going. Ben opened 7 envelopes and the boys put them in order.
I have never seen the zoo so empty. The boys ran out all their energy on the trails. Minus a little rain, we were all layered up and stayed warm. Brian taught the boys how to give weggies and then Ian in all his 3.75 glory attempted to give my over 6 ft brother one. Both boys loved not having to share the rescue helicopter with anyone else.
Since Brian and I were not together over Christmas we exchanged gifts courtesy of the US postal service. For him, a box of Trader Joes goodness, and for me a book and an extra special gift, one with over 45 years of experience. From 1969-1970 my dad was in Vietnam, stationed at a military base seven miles from the Mekong River. He rarely talked about his days as a mechanic in the Air Force, other than to say that a tradition that started the year his sister sent a box of my dad's favorite chocolate covered cherries as part of a larger gift box. The cherries were destroyed once they arrived almost a month after she had originally sent the package.
Every Christmas from that year forward they exchanged a box of cherries with the one ground rule that the box had to be inedible. He mircowaved, burned, even hammered out her gift every year with such happiness. Brian has kept the tradition alive with a not box of cherries to be enjoyed, but rather a bunch of nasty including something that fell off his truck. I dearly wanted to be with him on Christmas, I laughed out loud at his thoughtfulness to carry on a tradition in our dad's honor.
Everyone should be so lucky to have a Brian in their life.