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Bob and Stellar

It's not often that two birthday's, of importance, collide in the same year. That is what is happening for me today and so I must recognize both because they are so uniquely and lovingly connected...

The above photo is very a matter of fact it is probably 60 years old...that birthday boy is my brother Bob and of course, that girl is me...we are sitting very close..because growing up we were very close...I am only 18 months older than him and my older brother was only 13 months older than me...we spent a lot of time together..

Today is Bob's 65 birthday...a milestone some would say, except Bob is not here to celebrate...When he was a bit over 50 he died from was the single most devastating event I have ever experienced. It took me many months, maybe years to wrap my head around the fact that my "little brother"...left, not because he wanted to, but because he had to..

As we any other family, changes happened and we both lived in different states so we didn't see as much of each other as we did growing up...but we were never really far off either. Holidays, special events, we always connected as a family.  I never dreamed that he someday wouldn't be here.  That is not the order of life.  The young don't go first...but in my family that fairytale vanished on a January day in 2000.

Over the years Bob became a big collector of things...I did the same.  Maybe it came from not having much when we were kids, I'm not sure. One of the things that he loved was antique cars.  He had several beauties and took very good care of them. He also knew how to pick a good one.  When I was 17 years old, I got my first real car.   I had a junk to start with.  It didn't even have a break pedal, just a stick coming up from the floor, so when I got my "new car", only two years old, with brakes and so much more I was in heaven.   My Mother never drove and never had a driver's license so it was a bit hard to convince her that I should own this car.  My brother's came to my rescue and assured her that I was quite capable of taking care of the car but more importantly, that I could pay for the car.   So she co-signed for me on a loan.  She always said she owned 4 cars..(between all us 4 kids) but she could never get a ride anywhere...that still makes me laugh.  The car I got that day, that I loved with all my heart, was a Ford Falcon Future Convertible.  Today that car celebrates is 50th anniversary...The Ford Falcon was born in 1963.  I kept that car in perfect condition for 10 years before moving on...but oh how I enjoyed my time with her.

In the fall of 1999, I got a phone call from this time he was really failing but still fighting.  He was so excited when I answered the phone.  "You have to come to New Hampshire as soon as you can."  I have found something for you and you are going to love it.  One thing I forgot to tell you about Bob, he was a master of joking and lots of time plain trouble. Many a time he drove me nuts and I'd shake my head at his antics, but this time, he sounded serious.  So off I went.  We met him in some crazy run-down yard, in the back woods, and there he was, with the biggest smile on his face.  That smile filled the space between us as I stared at a bright red, 1963 Ford Falcon Futura convertible.  Can you imagine he found my car...again. And although it was a bit pricey for us at the time, I have never, for one moment, regretted buying her.

Meet Stellar...the last gift my brother ever gave me.  Stellar is a beauty.  I have had her done over and buffed up.  She is beautiful and smooth, a real Chick car.   My original was black but I love the red so much, hot, hot.   My brother would be so proud of how well I've taken care of her.   I am so proud of this gift. Everytime I go riding in Stellar, Bob is with me.  If every bolt fell of this car, I would put them in a bucket and save them, knowing Bob found them..for me.   All gifts are lovely, some have more meaning than others but then there is the gift that comes with pain and sacrifice and a genuine heart because the person knows how much pleasure that gift will bring to the receiver.   Bob knew this and in his last months he found a lasting gift that I will hold closely and take care of.  Really, though I love the car, it's not about the car. The car is a symbol of all that a life accumulates and then what you give in the symbol is your time, your effort, your knowledge of another person and your love.   That what Stellar is, she is the love of a brother and sister.   She is what is tangible when he is not...and she is Powerful.

So today I wish them both HAPPY BIRTHDAY...and I celebrate their time here with me.   I wil continue to drive Stellar in joy and with the music loud...and remember always when I was a CHICK...and how I loved that wind in my hair...thanks keep me forever young.

"Life is don't grow anything but love".

"Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero."  Marc Brown


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Reader Comments (6)

Truly beautiful. This touched me and conjured up some wonderful images.

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMahk

Thanks so much for your lovely comment Mahk...Life is funny and so unexpected. It's nice sometimes to reflect. Have a good night.

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercheryl c.

He was awesome, nobody else like him in this world. He lives on in so many people - you, Amy, Doug, Wendy, Dick, and the 5 grandkids he never got to meet.
I am pretty sure he is keeping an eye on us all the time.

Love you.

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLori

Chery, what a poignant story! and what a grand brother to give you such a sweet gift. Lucky girl, you are!! And is that a little Bichon in your lap in the Falcon? Makes me smile. ;->

I haven't even finished reading and I'm hitting myself wondering if I missed your birthday?

July 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAntoinette

Oh Cheryl, what a special, special post, for a special, special brother-sister relationship. This is so beautifully written! You do have such a wonderful way of writing. And wow! My younger sister would have been 65 in October this year, and she died of CA in July 2000. That is so ironic. I always described her as "life is like a bowl of cherries". She loved life, fun, friends, people. Your words are very precious memories. And....ENJOY your red convertible! It is awesome!

July 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeverly

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