Happy Birthday, Big Mike!

Gayle, Mike & Me in Sunny AZ

“Siblings: children of the same parents, each of whom is perfectly normal until they get together.” **Sam Levenson

Oh man, that quote says it all!! It cracks me up as I read it. Nobody can make me laugh like my siblings. We call them ‘Laugh Attacks’. Those crazy fits that truly bust a gut, that when I try to tell someone how funny such and such was, they look at me like….”Okay… yeah… that sounds hilarious…” as they roll their eyes. I remember sitting around the dinner table as kids and having to divert our eyes from each other. Getting tickled by something only we could see, a ‘laugh attack’ with the accompanied snort and possibly milk coming out of our noses was frowned upon by our parents.

Jill, Mike & Me… 1961

There were four of us, growing up on twenty acres at the bottom of Bunk Foss Road. Once in awhile a cousin would come to play, or some of our parents friends who had kids our age would come to visit, but mostly it was us four Campbell Kids. Together we blazed trails through the woods and built forts beneath the canopy of towering evergreens. Up on the hill behind our house, there was an old chicken coop. I don’t think we ever raised hens or gathered eggs, but sometimes we would get ambitious and sweep it out for a make-do clubhouse. A Transparent apple tree grew beside it and in August when the apples started to ripen and fall, the deer would come, feast on the windfalls and rest in the shade. One time we (Mike) came up with the brilliant idea to capture one of the deer for a pet. I’m not sure how we lured the poor creature into the coop, but when that door closed, and she was locked in, the term ‘wild animal’ was defined for us. Lurching and rearing and searching for an escape, it’s a miracle none of us were trampled before we got that door opened and the deer bounded away.

As teenagers, we moved from the country into a house in town. With a rec room in the basement and a pool in the backyard, our house was the gathering spot. I think we moved in mid winter, but on the first sort of nice day in March, Mike was the first one in the pool. I’m pretty sure there’s an eight millimeter movie somewhere of the fastest jump, splash, exit in history.

Mike wrestled and played football for the Panthers. Friday nights found our house full of friends and family of all ages, eating snacks around our big dining room table and rehashing the game. Glory days for sure!

A couple of years ago when we were all in Arizona, Mike invited me on a road trip. “Hey, do you want to take a drive on the Apache Trail? Everyone says it’s beautiful!” How could I resist? He picked me up early and away we went. It’s not often as adults that we get undivided time with a sibling, but there I was. We were on the road for about ten hours, exploring historic spots and stopping at every scenic viewpoint. Reminiscing our shared times, and listening to him replay some of his shenanigans was an experience I will never forget!

Today I celebrate my baby brother and wish him a happy birthday. Growing up with built in best friends was great fun, growing old with them is even better! Love you baby bro!

My Baby Brother

Peace. Love. Amen.

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