where the rivers meet

Back when you pulled in the TV show “The Brady Bunch” with an antenna, everything was groovy, and people drove orange love bugs, I sat around the dinner table with my extended family. We would eat fried fish caught in the lake earlier in the day, the vegetables from my great grandfather’s garden, and there was always a freshly baked dessert. At my great grandparent’s cabin family was always welcome. There would be times when both of my great uncles would be there. I always loved when they visited because it meant an evening that would begin with jokes and laughter, as we passed the food around the table. It also meant that the two brothers would end up in a lively decision.

One brother wore bell-bottom jeans, a peace sign necklace, had long hair and a beard, while the other one sported a golf shirt, dress pants and had neatly trimmed hair. They couldn’t have been more opposite. The conversation always turned to politics, an area the brothers never agreed on. It would grow rather heated, as each brother stood their ground. Both are asking for proof—neither giving in to the other side. But as quickly as these loud debates began, they ended just as fast with a shake of the head or shrug. Soon the dishes were cleared, and everyone would settle down to play a game of cards together. The moment forgot—differences put aside.

How were these brothers able to disagree on so many things and remain best friends? To most, it must have seemed an odd match, but it worked for them. They did everything together, including work. One conservative running the family business, while the other one free-spirited—adding to the creative side of the company. Outside of work they were together for the holidays, sporting and charity events.  They based their bond on more than just mere ideas. They had family, memories, love, and they balanced each other out in a perfect blend.

When I first posted this blog in 2016, it was in honor of losing one of these great uncles at 92 years old. His brother grieved this loss in only a way he could. This week, we sadly lost this uncle at 94 years old. Although they are both gone from our world, I am comforted that they are together now.

What is left behind now is the memory of the love these two brothers shared. They were an example of how disagreement could be settled and moved past. They weren’t afraid of each other. They didn’t turn their backs when they didn’t agree. They knew both of what they offered was necessary. It wasn’t just one way or the other—it was both.

When I see all the disagreements between family and friends, I remember those nights long ago watching two opposite brothers put their differences aside. I saw that we didn’t always have to agree and we are in this together. That was a valuable lesson I took away from my childhood and carry within me now. I wanted to honor the example of love, hope, and wisdom. I will forever be grateful for being a part of that table with them so many years ago.

Embrace your inner child, D.L. Finn

36 thoughts on “Brothers”

  1. Beautiful, Denise. My mom used to say, “There are two sides to every story.” When I was young, I often could not see the other side, but now I respect the differences and focus more on building bridges than proving this or that. Thank you for sharing your uncles and grandparents with us. Warmed my heart! ♥

    1. Thank you, Gwen. There are two sides to the story as your mom said. I’m hoping to see more bridge building in the future and I know I’m very lucky to have been blessed by wonderful grandparents and uncles.

  2. This post moved me to tears, my friend. How marvelous it is for you to have those pristine and unsullied memories of family. The bridges we build need to be strong enough to endure the harshest of storms, but the journey that begins with love will inspire us to continue. This is a moving and fitting post to celebrate the brothers and the legacy they gave you.

    1. Thank you, Soooz! I will always treasure these moments from my past. Yes, we need these bridges to cross over build with love. I am glad I could share them with you as I remember.

  3. That’s the youth I remember too. Now, it’s just gone. I’m with half the country but in the ‘deplorable’ group. I can’t tell you how often people think I’m scum just because of my well-thought out opinions. And they aren’t afraid to treat me that way. I now have a full set of body armor I can don when needed.

    My daughter is looking for a mate and always, the conversation ends if they are on different political spectrums.

    It’s sad, isn’t it?

    1. Thank you, Jacqui! I love having these memories to fall back on. Yes, I agree it is sad that the two halves of thinking don’t realize they need each other. No need to agree with each other, but there should be some respect that opinions might be different. I will hang on to this and knowing differences are what move us forward.

  4. It takes love to agree to disagree but remain friends. A lovely example you have shared about two brothers who loved each other enough not to let differing opinions get in the way of their friendship. So often this is not the case nowadays when differing political positions can divide families and friendships.

    1. I feel the same, Julie! I would never walk away from someone who had a different opinion than me. I will hang on to what I learned as a child and listen to both sides and make up my own mind, but grateful for hearing both sides even if I don’t agree.

  5. That’s lovely and so very true. I remember those evenings and visits also…the big Irish families…the laughter, there was always someone visiting o matter where my dads military posting took us! Thanks Denise.

    1. I do miss those moments, but I can really treasure the memories. Glad you have the same visits and laughter to look back on!

    1. Thank you Staci for your kind words. I was very lucky to have them in my life and learn from their example. I’m glad I can share some of their wisdom here.

  6. Disagreements strengthen bonds if we learn to appreciate the point of view of others. Thanks for sharing lovely memories Denise, they become precious with the passage of time. Even sad ones return to warm our hearts and help us understand life. Stay blessed dear friend.

    1. Thank you Balroop. They were able to speak their truth and it be ok. It was an amazing gift being around that. Yes, memories are precious and guide us in life.

  7. What a beautiful post and tribute to two men who made such an impact on your life. It’s amazing that while they were being themselves, doing what they did, they were also setting an example for a young girl she would carry all of her life. It goes to show how easy it is to touch and influence the lives of others in ways we never suspected. I am glad you have such wonderful memories to comfort you and that your uncles are together again in a much better place!

    1. They were amazing men and wonderful examples to me. You are right we never know when our words and deeds affect others. Thank you, Mae:)

  8. It’s good to have beautiful memories to fall back on. It’s amazing how much has changed over the years too. Thank you for sharing, Denise! 🙂

    1. It is wonderful to have good memories to fall back on Kevin. Yes, times have sure changed.

  9. First, condolences for your loss. You have some great memories to keep your great-uncles alive in your heart. And a much-needed reminder these days that it’s okay to disagree and still get along.

    1. Thank you, Julie. I do have these wonderful memories. I hope for a time again when we realize it is ok to disagree but accept each other anyways, too..

  10. A beautiful share and tribute to both brothers. How wonderful that you their fine example of disagreeing, but loving unconditionally… Thanks so much for sharing this family story, Denise. <3

    1. I was very blessed to have them in my life so many wonderful years
      Thanks, Bette:) xo

    1. Awe, thank you for letting me know. Rob. They meant a lot to me and I hope their message is heard in today’s crazy climate.

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