Happy birthday to littlest musketeer

Published 8:50 am Wednesday, November 19, 2014

We were the three musketeers. I was the oldest, and then there was brother Bob followed by Jim. Less than five years separated us.

When Bob arrived, I was about 17-months-old. Of course, I don’t remember Mother and Daddy bringing him home. Jim’s birth is another story. (We called him Jimmy, but he outgrew that name)

I must have been about three when he was born. It is amazing but I remember the first time I ever saw him. Daddy took Bob and me to the hospital to see Mother and while we were there, he walked us down the hall to a big plate-glass window.

“Here is your new brother,” Daddy said, pointing to a baby sleeping behind the glass.

He picked us up so we could get a better look at this new baby who was soon to be living in our house. I can still see Daddy lifting Bob, who was just a toddler, and him leaning forward to press his nose against the window. (We called him Bobby at the time)

There are bunches of pictures of the three of us during those early years. In one, we stand side-by-side on the couch, three musketeers smiling for the camera.

Early on, the youngest musketeer’s creative side started showing itself. Jim was the one with imagination. I remember he saw a plane flying overhead and decided he could build one. His plan took a hit when he saw an actual plane on the ground and realized its size.

Then my baby brother discovered music, specifically the guitar. Many, many nights he hide under his covers when he was supposed to be sleeping practicing what he learned in his Chet Akins guitar book.

Like everything he undertakes, he mastered that guitar. It was and is a wonderful thing to watch and to hear him play. He also learned to play a banjo and a steel guitar.

And, there is his photography and his art. He got interested in taking pictures and took outstanding ones. Hanging on a wall at the end of the hall in Mother’s house are examples of his drawing skills. The framed black-and-white drawings are amazing.

Maybe Jim inherited his interest in woodworking from my grandfather, my mother’s father, who had a shop behind their house. I remember the boats he built and the time he built an extra long picnic table for our backyard.

Whatever the inspiration, the things Jim creates in his shop are works of art in wood. Lately, he is playing around with different shapes created with different kinds of wood.

He made beautiful platters, bowls and the neatest saltshaker I have ever seen. The hole is in the bottom and you shake it in an upward direction to release the salt.

There are pieces I know stepped right out of his imagination into being. It’s difficult to describe them. I told him a few of the ones with interesting twists and points look like something you’d find in Dr. Seuss’ Whoville.

Yes, there is a point to my ramblings about my brother. You see today is his birthday and this quiet fellow will probably not be thrilled I shared any of this with you.

That’s OK. He learned a long time ago that I do not pay attention to what my younger brothers tell me not to do.

I write this to let him know I am and always have been in awe of him. How one human has so much talent is amazing.

Yep, we were, and I like to think we still are, The Three Musketeers, only slightly older, but still a happy group. So, today the oldest musketeer bows to the youngest one and wishes him a big old Happy Birthday.