Saturday, June 12, 2010

Entertaining The Brother, Who Can Be Quite Entertaining. If You Have The Stamina!

I've almost forgotten how to do this! Blame it on my brother's visit. Blame it on the gardening course. Blame it on my airport taxi service. Blame it on Quilt Camp......Or, just blame it on life!

The volcano in Iceland nearly scuttled his plans, but my brother arrived, nothing daunted, a week late. He stayed for a month and went home two weeks ago with a great tan, and enough sunshine stored in his bones to see him well into old age. The Bean was delighted to have his uncle's help in the garden, and between them they got it shipshape.

I even had the grace to feel a little guilty. But I needn't have. Even though it's way too hot for my liking, outside in the middle of the day, he gloried in it! He'd be out there at noon, sweating and smiling, working away and marveling at how much nicer this weather is than the steady diet of piddling rain he left back home.

He spent hours swimming at the "Y", perfecting his stroke, our humble home pool being inadequate for his Olympic aspirations! Since he is in excellent physical shape for his age, I'm sure he caused some hearts to flutter among the elderly ladies as he ploughed through the water in his tangerine Speedos!

It almost made me hanker for the days when race walking was his obsession. Have you ever seen race walking? For him it was serious sport, and for a while he was one of the best race walkers in Ireland. But, for me, it was serious comedy! All those locked knees, pumping elbows and get-out-of-my-way determination! When he was visiting us, he'd train for his walking every day. He'd take off out the door and be gone for hours. Low maintenance. We lived in Belgium back in those days, in a suburb of Brussels, and one time he went out walking and didn't come back.

And didn't come back.

And darkness fell.

And the temperature dropped.

And it started to drizzle.

And still no sign of the bould brother. Or his walking companion, our black lab, Maggie. I was on my knees, weeping and pleading with the Blessed Virgin [who probably had forgotten who I was, it'd been so long!] begging her to keep him safe and to please not let my deceased mother's ghost find out what a terrible big sister I had turned out to be by carelessly misplacing the apple of her eye!

This was before cell phones took over the world. And the workings of the Belgian public telephone system were shrouded in mystery, not to mention foreign languages, neither of which he spoke. And his English was delivered with a very thick Irish accent....

I was pacing the floors in the wee, dark hours of the next morning, wringing my hands and letting my imagination run away with me, when lo! A knock at the door!

And there he stood, barely, exhausted and bedraggled, with a half-dead pooch at his side, who immediately betook herself to a quiet corner where she collapsed, and from where she did not stir for several days. You can bet she ran [or limped] for deep cover the next time she saw him preparing to go walking! Not quite the "walkies" she was accustomed to! I would give a lot of money to be able to hear the exchange between him and the Belgian police who gave him a lift from Waterloo back to our house!

A few years ago, Rise gave him a present of a course of swimming lessons, so, since he was getting older, and swimming is easier on the joints, he gave up the walking and fastened his focus on the water! Unfortunately the "Y" is on the other side of town, and since he couldn't drive here, I was constantly driving him there or picking him up. High maintenance. When we went to the beach he wanted to start out early, cook his bones all day long on the sand and in the water, basting himself occasionally with the magic creams that were his insurance policy against skin cancer.... After a couple of hours I would wilt in the heat and glaring sunshine, in spite of sun hats, sunscreen, beach umbrellas and towel tents. But heaven forbid I should suggest heading home before sundown! By the end of our beach sojourn there was The Brother, hale and hearty, full of fresh air and glowing bronzely, while a grease spot on the beach blanket marked what used to be me.....

He's a great guy, and he didn't stink after three days, but after thirty I was tired of having to have an agenda every day. I hankered to have my life back. And my blog! If he saw me on the computer he'd roll his eyes and say

"Don't tell me you're wasting time again on that yoke, and the sun splitting the rocks outside!"

I hope they'll have a nice summer in Ireland this year. He's much happier when the sun shines. He works hard, restoring antique furniture, for which he is much in demand, even in these economically lean times. Give me a year or so and I'll be ready to take him on again. Meanwhile, I'm hoping I earned some brownie points......I sent him home safe and sound, Mum! Give me a little credit!

So, there you have it: one reason you haven't seen much of me in these parts of late.....

Note: You can read another post about my brother here.


Anonymous said...

He sounds like a blast, Molly!!! Glad you're back. ; ) Do you need a nap? I think I might.

FeatherDuster said...

Seeing what he's done for the garden, I was going to ask (hopefully) if he was single. But after wearing myself out reading the rest of the post, I know I couldn't keep up with him so it's probably just as well if he isn't ;-)

persiflage said...

I have been WONDERING what was going on. What a boyo he is, eh! At least you did not have to wonder what to do with him each day!
Sounds like a good time all round, even if you do need some rest.

molly said...

Yes, Feather Duster, he is single.But you might be biting off more than you could chew! If you click on the highlighted word at the end you'll see why......

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Dear Heaven , I'm ready to have a cup of tea just after reading about it !
At least you weren't expected to join in . Presumably it was safe to leave him to the tender mercies of the Florida widows for the odd half hour while he caused a sensation in the "Y" . Lucky too, that it's quite difficult to get lost swimming lengths in even an Olympic-sized pool .
It sounds as though he had a marvellous time . Well done !
Now you can relax .... in between studying gardening , quilting , and running your private airport shuttle service , cooking , gardening etc., etc.
All that energy must be a family thing !

Pauline said...

What a handsome fellow! (And a handful by the sound of it!) Glad you survived and are now back at the computer :)

Pam said...

Well that does sound exhausting, I must admit.

But we can expect copious posts now, can we?

Thimbleanna said...

How fun Molly! I always love to have family visit. I always chuckle when Europeans wear their speedos here -- we don't quite know how to take it!

Warty Mammal said...

Sounds like one of those "gather ye rosebuds while ye may" times. Exhausting ... and pleasant.