In the style of this and this, I now bring you Ten True Stories about Brian Whitaker. Happy Birthday, Brian!
1. The day Brian was born I was supposed to go see Snow White with my mother's friend Michele. Instead, my parents woke me up to tell me that my new brother was coming today, and wasn't that even more exciting! The answer is yes, but I am still hazy on why I couldn't go to the movies. It's not like I helped deliver him...
2. My little brother immediately became a captive audience for me. According to my mother all she had to do was sit him down in front of me and I would sing songs, tell stories, read books and act out plays for hours on end while she got things done around the house. And he loved it.
2b. Once Brian could walk and talk he traded in his audience role for one of an actor. I "directed" him in several two-man shows. Our family STILL talks about how we memorized the Scarecrow and Dorothy scene and how we'd perform it at every family gathering. However, he grew up to be very, very stage- shy.
3. Brian was born to skate. He played other sports too, baseball and soccer - but hockey was his real calling. The first time Dad took him to the rink near our house Brian just took off on the skates - no milk crates, no hobbling around and falling over. He was 6 years old.
4. When we were growing up we had a Christmas tradition where Brian would sleep on the floor of my room on Christmas Eve. We'd stay up all night talking and laughing. I have no idea what we talked about, but those are still some of my favorite memories.
5. When we were moving from Eagle Street, where we grew up, tension levels were high. Fights were a plenty. It came up one day that no one had taken the door knocker off and Mom said she didn't care. We knew she did though. It had our name on it. Brian and I didn't even talk about it, we just both showed up at the front door with tools and silently removed it.
6. He once needed stitches because he hit himself in the head with a baseball bat trying to swing at a basketball.
7. Brian figured out sometime between high school and Job Corps that he loves cooking and that he is fantastic at it. He now works as a chef at a nursing home in Dedham, which lets him give back to the community. But one of his real passions is cooking food for his loved ones. Sometimes after work Brian brings me pies or stuffed cabbage. And when his kitchen is throwing away bread he always saves me some.
8. Although Brian is a real tough as nails kind of guy he secretly knows all the words to several songs from RENT.
8a. Also, he doesn't read my blog.
9. When we were teenagers one of our favorite pass times together was ghost hunting. Then one night when I was in college Brian called me because he actually saw one of the ghosts we'd been hunting down for years, the local legend ghost of Hammer Road. He wanted to know if there were any prayers he could say to make sure the ghost didn't come home with him.
9a. This is the most spiritual advice my now- agnostic brother has asked me for since I was his Confirmation sponsor at church.
10. I called Brian one night in college because I had come home to see a concert and then was stranded downtown after the trains stopped running with no cash for a cab and no ATM in the blocks that I walked. I had no idea where I was but he figured it out and got me. This has happened more than once.
BONUS: My brother was recently questioned by police in the context of the theft of 400 cartons of cigarettes in Dover. The reason? He had posted on his facebook page that he had some cheap cigarettes for sale. To prove his innocence he had to reveal the deal he had recently struck up with an elderly man at a nursing home who orders cigarettes online from out of state to avoid taxes. No word yet on whether the old man is getting in trouble.