My brother Bill was born this day several years before me. (He would be proud that I did not mention that it is a whole 6 years before me.) Our father was an accountant so Bill was a well timed tax deduction! As a result, in our family, Christmas Eve was BILL'S BIRTHDAY and Christmas Day was CHRISTMAS. They were separate and distinct. Mom always made an angle food cake with white frosting and we ate dinner in the dinning room. We used the GOOD china. She did this for each of us when our turn came.
Because I am a bit of teaser (I was raised with two older brothers--remember that!) It has been my custom to call each of my brothers on their respective birthdays and sing the worst rendition of Happy Birthday or its equivalent. After all, I am the one who took after our father and sings. I even sing tenor.
When I sang for Dan last August he groaned as usual. He made some ridiculous comment that the Vocal Arts let me in as a charity case and life went on as usual. Dan had turned 63. Today I was reminded of all the times I called each of them as Bill's first remark upon returning my call was...."Oh, no, here it comes...."
I guess the point is that each of them would call back on that special day even though they knew I would deliberately sing off-key. It was the love, it was the sharing.
I can't call Dan anymore but as he lay in that bed in Redding, as I stroked his hair and watched him slip from this earth, I sang "Danny Boy" to him--very low, very on-key. The pipes called him to another place. I will bide and build a relationship with Bill that I have long neglected. Another gift from Dan.