April 26, 2010
Happy Birthday, Dino!
Today is my little brother's birthday. He's the one in the middle, in case you didn't guess. He's still the little brother although he outgrew me eons ago. I AM the older one, but that gets less and less cool every year! My brother was named for our dad, so instead of calling him Junior or Little Phil as was the trend at the time, my parents used our dad's old nickname which comes from his middle name, Dean. So I've only known him as Dino. All his Army buddies call him by his last name and I think most adults call him by his actual first name, but he's still my little brother, and "Dino" he will always be.
When he was a toddler, he had that freaky hair that always looked like he'd just touched an electrical socket. It was fine and blond and stuck straight out from his head on all sides. He was always tall and thin and anxiously awaited muscles and chest hair. He hung out with the older kids from church sometimes, and once after being around Little Carson all day (a teenager who really DID have muscles and hair), I remember Dino standing in front of a full-length mirror at about 6 years old, all wiry and bony, but flexing his muscles. He was straining hard to see some hairs ANYWHERE on his frame, and blurted out, "I am one hairy beast!" Oh, the power of positive thinking.
Growing up, he let me dress him up in whatever clothes I wanted (no dresses, mind you) growing up, and fully trusted my fashion sense. We all have pictures to prove what a bad idea that probably was. Thankfully, he didn't continue to wear that MCHammer style that worked for him back then, but to this day, he's very aware of his clothing and quite obsessed with shoes. Not high heel ones or anything, but the boy always had tennis shoes and boots to spare, and a collection of t-shirts with brands plastered across the front of them, enough to outfit an army. Okay, I'm diggin' this hole deeper and deeper, huh, Dino? Let's move on.
He's a really, really neat guy that makes friends easily and reminds me more and more of my granddad the older he gets. He's good at pretty much anything he tries, from fishing and hunting to sports to just about anything. When I had been doing triathlons for a good while, practicing every day and competing every chance I got, I remember that he came down for a visit and jumped on Ken's bike to accompany me for a ride. I don't have to tell you that I was ready to throw a rock on him when he passed me like I was standing still, and said, "Man, I haven't ridden in forever!"
My mom says I wanted to name him Purple when he was born because it was my favorite color at the time, and I don't really know why they didn't let me have my way. He's completely tough-guy, though, so I guess Purple wouldn't have went over well in basic training, nor on his hard hat, or even on the back of his softball jersey. Anyway, he's a great brother that I love very much and miss a lot. He'd fit in nicely in Paraguay, as he doesn't know a stranger (where'd he learn that?) and is comfortable just about anywhere. Hint, hint: I'm still waiting on a visit, Dino. Have a super birthday!