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11:38 AM - Sun 11.01.15
Meeting Gregg, My "Brother From Another Mother"

Meeting Gregg, My "Brother From Another Mother
It's a gray, drizzly day here in Ruther Glen, VA...

I'm on my brother Gregg's computer - opted not to bring my laptop on the trip - sitting at their dining room table, as Detroit playing...somebody, in an exhibition game in England, plays on the TV.

Gregg and Kelly live in/on Lake Caroline, a woodsy, gated community where, in a parallel universe, I could imagine living myself.

I'm always nervous, when I travel, about getting to where I need to be in a timely fashion, making the right connections, having whatever I need to have packed actually packed, etc.

But I'm happy to report that the trip here came off without incident.


The first, longer leg of my trip - from LAX to Charlotte, NC - was fine.

But then things went slightly awry - For some reason, a batch of tickets (mine included) didn't have gate numbers on them for connecting flights (My final destination was Baltimore).

So, as we approached Charlotte, a flight attendant started reading off gate numbers ("If your final destination is _____, your gate number is ______").

Long story short, he either said the wrong thing, or I heard the wrong thing, because I went to the wrong gate...and by the time I realized my error, it was too late - I'd missed my connection.

I felt bad making Gregg wait longer for me, but happily, it was only about an hour till the next flight (And not six hours, or the next day). But still, I was frustrated with myself for not being able to successfully manage getting from here-to-there without a hitch.

It was a ways from the Baltimore airport to Gregg's place, but it was a nice ride - We got to his house around 9:30, where I got to meet his wife Kelly (and his dog Max, a handsome 13-year old German Shepard), and have a late dinner.

Yesterday, me and Gregg went to Dennys for breakfast, then to Colonial Williamsburg for the afternoon (Gregg had suggested that or a trip to Mount Vernon for a Saturday excursion).

(It was alright - Colonial Williamsburg, where we bought the "sampler" ticket that got us in to four places - but since the point was pretty much just hanging out with Gregg, I got as much from having breakfast with him at Dennys, and riding in his truck, as I did checking out the blacksmith's shop and what-have-you...though I did like the woman that was guiding us through the Randolph House. I though she was cute.)

When we got home, we napped/laid about for a bit, then went down to the far end of his yard and made a fire (Which was great fun - We got some brush and firewood, and then Gregg, after warning me to step a good ways back, just started throwing gas on it, which was cool, because I'm a latent pyromaniac).

While we were there, three of their friends dropped by - Craig, Sarah, and Jason (Sarah and Jason are married)- and we had a nice dinner, drank some wine, and had a lot of laughs.

To be honest, I had worried about the friends, and whether we'd have anything to say to each other (I always worry about that when meeting new people, for some reason), and particularly worried about possible tension about "differing beliefs" (of a political/religious nature).

But there wasn't any problem at all, which I should have seen coming - Gregg and Kelly are pretty delightful people, so it would only make sense that their friends would be pretty delightful too (And no one tried to "save my soul" or argue with me about the evils of liberalism or anything like that).

They were funny and fun, and I was funny and fun, and it feels safe to say "A good time was had by all" (And contrary to my worries going in - Would I like them? Would they like me? - I kind of fell for Sarah, who was pretty and funny and utterly charming).

When they left, Gregg and Kelly retired, and I cleaned my CPAP stuff (So clearly, I'm taking using my CPAP seriously, even if it hasn't done shit for me thus far), then watched tv and played on my phone and Kindle till I conked out.

Today has been very mellow. We've just been hanging around the house - Gregg wanted us to go out on his boat, but the weather had other plans - and right now, the two of them are going for a little walk.

Kelly's boss - she works at Big Brothers, Big Sisters - is coming over in a bit (Kelly's been a little nervous about that), and I think their friends from last night are coming back tonight as well.

(Gregg has been saying he wanted to shave his head prior to chemo - so "I decide when I'm going to lose my hair, not the cancer" - and last night there was a lot of talk about making a "thing" out of doing it tonight, with jokes about what initials they were going to shave and so on. Though today, he expressed that he might "take his chances" on the off chance that he'll be one of the people that doesn't lose their hair during chemo.)

So that's about it.

Gregg shared with me his memories of our father (Who was basically out of his life before Gregg hit first grade), and showed me what pictures he has, some of which he'd sent me in an email, but a few of which I'd never seen, and that was interesting (Dear old Dad was apparently a lot of fun, till he got his drink on...after that, not so much. And he wasn't terribly into paying child support, even though Gregg said he was pretty much always working).

But unlike dear old "Dad", Gregg's a good guy, and as I told him this morning, I'm really glad he pressed the issue on my visiting him.

As you can imagine, there's a lot going on with me right now, that would be hard-if-not-impossible to sort out in a single entry (Comparing and contrasting the two brothers, looking for what feel like "connecting threads" between us - the one that clearly emerges is that we all three seem to really like to laugh and make people laugh, to one degree or another - and maybe most of us, pondering just what it means to have brothers, to be a brother, in this. fairly unusual set-of-circumstances.

I've enjoyed this little break from my day-to-day life, and am already feeling a little sad about having to go back tomorrow, because I don't feel quite "ready" (But on the other hand, I think this is probably a good amount of time for me to impose on Gregg and Kelly, without it becoming too onerous).

Moving forward - with Gregg's medical situation, with our relationship, etc. - I don't know that there's anything profound to say beyond, "It will be interesting to see what happens next".

Trying to take a tip from my "little brother" here, regarding his situation, in being as even-keeled as possible. I imagine he's worried - who wouldn't be? - but he's not "letting it run away with him", as I suspect I would in his situation.

Not hearing a lot of Pollyanna-ish optimism from here, and not hearing a lot of gloom and doom either, just a sense that this is a thing to deal with, and it won't be much fun, but he's got support, and he seems prepared to work through it.

Frankly, I find it pretty admirable, and see it as something to emulate

And now, back to enjoying my "vacation"...


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