Brothers by blood, best friends by choice, what a great combination! Pictured here with me is my brother Barry. Being that he is 12 years younger then myself, I was out of the house before we really got a chance to know each other.
As we all know, age disparity plays less of a role in relationships as we get older. Over the past 40 years we have established a relationship that is second to none, a friendship that needs no rekindling if we haven't seen each other for a while. There are no awkward moments when meeting up, and our recent visit to his property in Upstate New York was no different.
Here is my younger brother Barry with my folks the day we got hitched.
Barry bought property in NY state several years ago. He plans on moving to this place when he retires. That will be great, we'll practically be neighbors. @farm-mom and my sister in-law get along famously. 😃
As you can see from this picture he has a place to sit down, take off his boots, and get out of the elements.
When it comes to construction, he has been my mentor since he was 17 years old. He went through the apprentice program to become a union carpenter. He had a hammer in his hand when he was two. He was framing homes with our brother in-law at the age of 15. He was the youngest child of five, and with the rest of us already out of the house, he palled around with dad. He was by our father's side, learning the trade from another highly skilled woodworker.
For the past 20 years or so he has been running the show for one of the largest computer flooring outfits in the tri-state area.
Well, he called me the other day and told me that he will be retiring this coming March.
I was elated to hear that news. If anyone ever deserved to sit back and smell the roses, it's him.
If you are still there, there is one one last thing I would like tell you about my best friend.
When we were knee deep in little ones, and living in a two bedroom home, we needed to expand our living space. All the pattering little feet, needed more room.
After a 2 minute phone call to my brother Barry, the project was under way. Without hesitation, it was game on.
At the tender age of 17 he was the lead man.
Together with a handful of my friends, he orchestrated the entire project. He built us a home that was beyond my wildest imaginations, with vaulted and cathedral ceilings, suspended walkways overlooking the 1st floor, and enough room for @farm-mom and me to continue to add some more little to the mix.
With this being the view from the home he will build, now that he will be retiring, I can't wait to get going.
Together we have worked side by side for many years, most often banging nails for others on weekends to make a few extra bucks.
This time we will be banging nails for us, as I try to repay him for all he has done for his big brother.
When we arrived at his property, the first thing I noticed was a new deck. He had just finished construction and was
adding the final touches, hanging some pretty cool lights around the deck.
As I got closer to the structure it became apparent that this was not your standard deck, but rather a freaking round one.
The trees incorporated in the deck were the bomb.
The diameter of the deck is 24 feet, that makes the circumference over 75 feet.
The reason I point this out is that wood is not very pliable. That is unless you do this to the back of the rim joist every inch. That's 912 cuts.
I tried to get a couple of pictures of the underside of the deck, but it was a little dark. The framing and post layout for the deck was incredible.
12 columns at different elevations placed to miss the trees, and handle the load of the framing.
All of the floor joists laid out to accommodate the trees.
The girder placement was a thing of beauty.
Yeah, he's not retired yet and did this during a week's vacation, just in time for us to all enjoy.
What a great visit we had. Played some horse shoes right off the get go.
We had much to talk about, and the laughter was nonstop.
Only a trained eye may be able to make out the grin on his face as he tends the grill. He is a character and a practical joker extraordinaire.
As the night came to a close, I thought how wonderful it was going to be for him to finally have one of life's most precious commodities, time.
In the near future we will be banging nails side by side once again, building a home for his family.
I'm all pumped up.
Now, you may be asking, what the heck is this.
23 years ago my little brother and a friend of ours kicked everyone's butt in horseshoes for the entire July 4th weekend.
Playing bare foot, he had his toe hold imprinted in the ground. After more than 50 games of shoes, while taking on all challengers, they finished the weekend undefeated.
I poured some concrete in the imprint and made a mold of his toe hold.
Knowing that we would be throwing some shoes, I brought the mold with me.
I was hoping that this little artifact would play on his heart strings, and he would show me a little mercy this time around.
No way that worked, and after getting beat several times in a row, I suggested that we should probably play some corn hole so the ladies could join in. 😃
Have a brother of a day!
Hey @jlsplatts, just another example of a blue collar guy like yourself making good. Hard work, skilled hands, imagination, work ethic, and an aptitude towards self reliance can be fostered in many ways. No college education required, and as we have talked about before, none of the baggage $$$ that will take years to pay off. Keep on teaching that boy of yours everything you know.