Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques,
Dormez vous? Dormez vous?
Sonnez les matines, Sonnez les matines
Din, din, don! Din, din, don!
i remember learning frere jacques when i was very little and running across the length of our ranch house to my brother’s room to knock on his door and sing that song…when i was little, he was in high school, and had a job working at sambo’s…every year i asked to go to sambo’s for my birthday dinner to eat french toast, and on the weekends i remember he would make me pancakes and could flip them reeeeeal high. when he had a big giant 70’s car i’d sit on his lap and he’d let me ‘drive’. he moved out and things were different, but when he came home he’d spend time with me – taught me how to play h.o.r.s.e. on the basketball court and put me on my first skateboard. just before he went into the air force, he lived at home, and i remember our big trip to mt hood to see a snurfing competition (this was just before the sport of ‘snowboarding’ became mainstream – i remember his stories of going down mt bachelor with it and getting crazy looks from the skiers) – i felt so grown up! i was in his first wedding when i was 13, and he and i walked together down the aisle of my sister’s second wedding (photo above, my very favorite). after high school, these past twenty-ish years, i’ve only seen him every few years as our lives are very different and very far apart. but i still look up to him. he’s still that guy i’d want to hang out with even if we weren’t related, something i can’t say for anyone else i’m related to.
with the return of his brain tumor, tomorrow i’m flying down to see him before he goes in for chemo. the last time we saw each other it was a week before my father’s stroke that lead to his death two weeks later. in six years, i’ve lost six people i loved. it goes without saying that i’ve got fears, stuff to work through, things that sit heavy on my chest. but this man inspires the hell out of me. he’s faced death a number of times and kicked its ass, and still does amazing things. he’s had to retire from the air force, but now teaches skiing in tahoe to kids. he’s gone and done exactly what he wants to do, no matter the obstacles. you should too. i should too.