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