11:44:05 pm on
Tuesday 28 May 2024

Greg the Giver
AJ Robinson

I can’t remember when my brothers became adults. I was the fifth of five boys and much, much younger; it wis a given my brothers matured before me; still, a couple of them did give me some attention.

was a baby, at the time, my recall is not perfect.

I only have reports from the family on which to base my conclusions. I was a baby. It’s not as if I can recall any of it.

Brother Steve took me for walks in my stroller. Very nice, yet there was also an ulterior motive. That was Steve.

He was always looking for the deal, always looking to profit from any endeavor. In my case, it was simple. When he took me for a walk, the teenage girls in the neighbourhood would swarm, “Oh, look at the pretty baby. Isn’t he the cutest thing?”

Not to be boastful, but, yes, I kind of was cute. Inside of five minutes he had dates for the rest of the month. I, of course, received much attention.

Then there was Greg, he was the giver. He took care of me, which, for a boy in his teens the 1960s was rare. Yet, that was Greg, he gave.

When I was four, Greg me an invitation to his first wedding. To be honest, it was not something I wanted. No offense, but think of it: what four-year-old wants to sit through a wedding?

Yuck. Something good did come out of that marriage. Greg gave me a niece and nephew, Nick and Heidi; they were the younger brother and sister for whom I had longed. I like to think of our childhoods, together, especially on the Vineyard were wonderful. Alas, that’s not for me to sole judge.

I also recall a visit to an amusement park somewhere in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, the memory has dimmed over the years. Ironically, all I remember is Greg and I and some other people walking toward the main gate.

I was already happy and made that clear, I was anticipating, which confused Greg. How could I be so excited when we hadn’t even gotten inside? I told him I was just happy to be there.

Zipping round the Vineyard in the back of his truck.

Yes, that day he gave me quite the joy. Heck, just riding in the back of his pickup truck, zipping around the Vineyard, was cause for total bliss. These days? Nope, too dangerous, we’d have to be buckled into our car seats.

Later came something truly wonderful. Greg gave me the big sister I’d hoped for when he married Anne; together, they started their lives on Martha’s Vineyard. It was there he gave me something else: comfort.

Greg was the one to tell me my parents were getting divorced; his love and support helped me in that most trying of times. It was always such a joy to visit him and Anne out in their little cabin in West Tisbury. It was like going to a hippie commune; it was especially wonderful to watch their home and family gradually grow.

Caleb and Jenni were always fun. I did get the spelling of her name wrong for years. Sorry about that, but no one ever really pointed it out to me; at least I got it right in time for Henri.

Yes, over the years Greg gave me so much and he gave me something truly special when I was about thirteen. He gave me love.

He was the first person in my life to ever utter those “Three Little Words.” That event is etched into my memory for all time. We were riding in his truck headed for his home, we’d just passed Duffer’s Delight and the Black Dog Bakery, and he said it.

Would that I had said it a few more times to him when I had the chance. I shall try to do better in future. Perhaps that’s the greatest gift he gave me: to be a better brother, husband, uncle and father and, most especially, a better son.

Waffle recipe.

I just wish he’d given me one other item. The recipe to his incredible waffles. They truly were the best.

Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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