Sunday marked one of those rare instances when my nuclear and extended families could get together and relax for a minute or two. Having somehow awoke at a reasonable time Sunday morning at my grandma’s house, I had the chance to join my step dad, little brother and grandpa as they made their morning rounds to my grandpa’s farms.
George Patterson, my little brother, is 16 years old and managed to substantially outgrow me in the last couple of years. After nearly two decades of withstanding my constant if non-malicious antagonism, he has his redemption in finally being able to best me in certain contests of wit and might.
For one thing, George has been making far better grades than I ever did in high school, especially in math. He operates heavy farm machinery and rides horses, neither of which I could fathom myself doing. I think he has also exponentially topped the amount of valid phone numbers I have received from girls throughout my life, and I had a six-year head start.
What is his secret? In a word — persistence. Anyone who knows George knows he is a high-energy individual with a will of his own. Go ahead, refer to him as “Nancy” for five years straight. He’ll brush it off. Maybe he does stand out in the crowd when he shows up to school in sweat pants, a hooded sweatshirt, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat complete with turkey feather, but that will never deter him from talking to every girl in the hallway.
I can still teach little brother a thing or two these days, however. I am proud to announce that on Sunday I beat him in an arm wrestling contest, a push-up contest and a 40-yard-or-so dash (in cowboy boots). Some might find it a little pathetic for a 22-year-old like me to gloat about winning an athletic contest against someone who is considered a child in the eyes of his home state, but I still revel in the glory. After all, he’s roughed me up pretty well a couple of times in the past (and lassoed me), and I do not know if I will be able to claim these same victories five or 10 years from now.
And so on George and I will go throughout our lives, able to measure our accomplishments relative to one another. Who will go gray first? Whose wife will turn out to be the better cook? Will my kid be able to beat his kid in arm wrestling? We will have to wait and see.