|Photos of my late brother Graham - 28th February, 1942....6th June, 1998. The top one taken a month before his passing; The lower two taken on his birthday, 3 months before he passed away....|
My big brother, Graham, passed away on 6th June 1998. 19 years ago...and yet his leaving seems and feels like it was only yesterday...
Knowing my brother Graham, if there are such beings as incorporeal spirits hovering around inhabiting the environs, unseen to the naked and un-naked eye, I’m pretty certain he’s keeping a keen eye on me.
I’m not sure if he would be an angel or a demon; most likely it’d be a combination of the two. Why change? In life he embodied both. If, perchance, his presence is floating about the place, out of sight, he most definitely would have me in his sights because he treated his role of being my big brother seriously when he was alive. He had no need to do so, but it was always his way.
When we were kids together growing up in Gympie he teased me relentlessly. To keep him happy I always rose to the occasion, not wanting to thwart his expectations. The teasing game continued throughout our adulthood.
During my teenage years his watchful eyes were always on alert when or if hopeful lads cast their eyes upon me, his little sister!
Graham could be a giant pain in the neck; I can be, too. We had our arguments, of those there were many; but I knew Graham had my back if required; vice versa applied. He wasn’t perfect; neither am I. Who among us is? You know the answer to the question without my elaboration. Graham had his faults, as do I; as do we all.
However, I knew my brother better than anyone else in this world ever did. I took the time to know him, more than anyone else ever did. I loved him more than anyone else in this world did. I still do...I miss him.
Without flinching, he looked you straight in the eye. Calling a spade a spade; he never suffered fools. In those, he and I were/are very much alike.
We were alike in many ways.
For instance – regarding the comments written in my previous post about sarcasm, cynicism etc., he felt similarly.
Graham and I frequently shared “sarcasm, tinged with pathos and good humour...” Sarcasm done without malice, but in harmless fun – “non-toxic, innocuous humour” shared by siblings of like mind.....
My brother enjoyed cooking; and he was a good cook. Often we exchanged recipes. However, he never made meatloaves. Those he left to me. He loved my meatloaves.
I’ve written previously about how I’d make two or three meatloaves for him to take back home every time he visited me on weekends...visits of which there were many – almost as many as there were meatloaves!
Also, if a boiled fruit cake was on offer, he wasn’t shy in putting up his hand.
When I lived and worked in the northern areas of Queensland back in the late Eighties to late Nineties, Graham lived, for the most part, in Mackay, the city he’d moved to in the mid-Sixties – so he was often within easy driving distance to where I was.
For a time he worked with me on Hinchinbrook Island, as a member of my maintenance team of three competent hombres.
Graham and I both loved reading, music and movies; each of which played major roles in our lives as children, and as adults.
Last night I spent an emotion-filled night watching the “One Love Manchester” concert until the early hours of this morning (Aussie time)...the telecast of the concert finished at 12.20 am. If Graham was still alive he, too, would have watched it. If we’d been together we would have watched the inspirational event together; and together, we would have shed tears and shared smiles – and, like me, he too would have felt pride at the resilience of the good, decent people in this world of ours.
Graham wasn't embarrassed or ashamed at shedding a tear. He and I inherited a "soft spot" - it was in our DNA.
One of the best times shared with my brother was an evening, in Townsville, when we went to see John Denver live in concert. And, on that night, we had the good fortune to meet Denver and chat with him for a while. It was a memorable evening in so many ways. I’m a fan of the late John Denver, but Graham was even more so.
Throughout our childhood Saturday afternoons were spent watching innocuous black and white newsreels at the matinees while counting the contents of our Jaffa packets as we waited impatiently for the cartoons to appear. Graham never sat near me, of course, but he maintained a look-out for those who did (of the male variety), or dared try to do so!
When not at the ‘pictures’, as they were called in those days of innocence, at home we gathered around the radio listening to the adventures of “Jason & the Argonauts” in their quest for the Golden Fleece.
We laughed at the hapless dingbat, Dexter Dutton, played by Willie Fennell in the radio sitcom, “Life with Dexter”. The drama serials, “Burtons of Banner Street”, “Blue Hills”, and “Hagen’s Circus” captured our interest. “The Quiz Kids” tested our general knowledge. We mimicked the speech and every imagined nuance of “Dad & Dave from Snake Gully”. “Biggles” and “Hop Harrigan” competed for our attention. Biggles won out in the end. “The Lone Ranger & Tonto” were worthy contenders in the action stakes.
The hilarious “Yes, What?”... filled with the antics of the lads of the fourth form at St. Percy’s kept us highly amused. Bottomly, the classroom rascal and his mates, Greenbottle and Standforth led the pack. Dr. Percival Pym, their wretched school master didn’t stand a chance when the larrikins ran a-muck in his classroom. Those scallywags gave us a few ideas...
Here’s to you, Graham! Thanks for the memories, Big Brother....