Friday, April 26, 2013

The Spear's Tip

Mom is fond of saying that she and Dad had six children in no small part due to their faithful adherence to the Roman Catholic Church's approved method of birth control.   Gives a whole new spin to the old show tune "I Got Rhythm" does it not?  Who could ask for anything more indeed? 

I am the youngest of the six Kenny siblings.  I suppose that goes to show that long before I learned that I, myself, lack rhythm I possessed the ability to extract it from the marrow of my parents.  At the opposite end of the train - the engine - is my oldest sibling, my brother Bill.  Today, lucky dog that he is, is his birthday.  Since neither singing a song off-key nor sending him a cake that might result in this birthday being his last one seemed to be an appropriate way to send him birthday tidings, I chose to not pursue either avenue.  

The span in age between the oldest and the youngest of the Kenny sibling sextet is such that Bill graduated from Rutgers University in the very same year as I matriculated onto the campus of St. Paul's School in Princeton and into the clutches of Mrs. Spaeth and her Kindergarten class.   Having been taught by Bill how to read prior to celebrating my 2nd birthday, which was a whole hell of a lot of candles ago at this point, I was better prepared for Mrs. Spaeth than most of - if not all of - my classmates.  And when you are the kid with the over-sized head and the tendency to spontaneously produce a grand mal seizure, neither an attribute that endeared you to the collective cockles of your aforementioned classmates' hearts, being ahead of most of them academically was no small thing.  

A lot of years have passed since Bill taught me how to read.  A lot of years have passed since I used to pad along behind him at the Rutgers University Library, dragging The New York Times behind me on that unwieldy apparatus every library used to use to display its newspapers and listening to Bill and his group of friends discuss important issues of the day, such as the Vietnam War.  Childhood epilepsy might have left me so woefully uncoordinated that I could not run from here to the end of this sentence, but my always-thirsty brain consistently received stimulation and information.  And that happened principally because of my brother Bill.  

In the years since I reached my high-water mark - and to be honest "learning to read before age two" is still what I list first on the CV of my life - the age gap between us has remained constant.  Thankfully for me, the bond has as well.  Four and one half decades later he remains the same excellent source of counsel and advice that he was way back when.   He has proven to be the gift who keeps on giving.   A truly remarkable man.  

I do not pretend to know for what it is he wishes on his birthday.  I hope simply that whatever it is, he gets it.


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