A short time ago my brother and his family made the long and grueling trip across country from Arizona to Florida. Trading one hot miserable summer location for another. Their second day in Florida I finally caught up with them and was able to visit. My brother, who is ten years older than me, has always had a wonderful sense of humor, and on this trip he did not disappoint. While we were standing around talking, my niece, his grandchild, started to cry. Smiling, my brother David, asked me to hold on and then turned toward the now very agitated little girl. Reaching into his pocket he retrieved his cell phone. Holding it up in front of my niece, he pushed the play button. To little Lucy's surprise it was a recording of her crying earlier that day. Lucy’s eyes widened and the tears stopped falling; her brow slowly pulled together as her mind tried to understand how David’s phone was now crying with her voice. My brother then turned to me and said, “I figured that would do the job.”
My brother has always had a great sense of humor, one you did not want to find yourself on the wrong side of. I was about ten years old the first time this happened to me. We were riding back from Gainesville and my brother wanted to stop by U F’s Track and get in a quick run before we went home. So, while sitting in the truck, probably bored out of my mind, I saw an old pair of running shoes someone had left hanging at eye level in a tree. I didn’t think much of them until my brother, finished his run and before climbing into the truck, went over and examined the shoes. He stared at them for a long moment then plucked them from the tree. When he climbed in the truck, I started to give him a hard time about taking the discarded shoes. He explained that someone left them behind instead of throwing them away so if someone wore their size they could use them. I understood what he was getting at and as a child I had seen a lot of hand-me-downs; so, it made sense to me. After a twenty minute drive, which always took thirty five because the cars and trucks we drove never went over fifty, we arrived home. Walking through the door, we were greeted by our large family. Back then there was always a house full. As we all sat down to eat, I couldn’t stop thinking about the shoes that were hanging in the tree at the track. So, testing the waters as younger brothers often do I spoke up and announced with joy resonating in my voice, “David found someone’s old shoes hanging in a tree, and he took them to wear.” Then I started to laugh thinking this had embarrassed him. This was the funniest thing to me at the time but I would not be laughing long. After everyone had finally stop chuckling, David calmly replied, “Well, that’s true, I did find a pair of old shoes I could wear. But in that same tree the person had also left his underwear hanging and Jason with no hesitation grabbed them and said, finders keepers, just my size too.” My expression of happiness fell as fast as it had come. Everyone started to laugh and there was no way to convince them that there was never a pair of underwear hanging in that tree. To a ten year old kid it was not so funny but now I still chuckle when I look back on the first time I found myself on the wrong side of my brother’s humor.