Saturday, May 3, 2008

Blakely Sutton Dennard and me (Part II)

In high school, Blake was everybody’s friend. Really. He was an excellent student and a great athlete. He played sports year round and I don’t think I ever missed a game. He was not what I would call a “charmer” because so many times that holds the connotation of being insincere and “insincere” and “Blake” cannot be used in the same sentence (although there were times you wished he hadn’t been quite so “sincere”) but he knew how to befriend the orneriest teacher and become his or her favorite student. I am still baffled by how he pulled this off. I loved being at the same school and was quite proud to be his little sister. He never brushed me off during breaks, in the halls or at lunch which gave me a great sense of security and made my confidence soar. (Hear that, RJ?)

Needless to say, when he went off to college, a HUGE hole was left in our home and in my life. I missed him and counted down the days to every University of Georgia home game. I don’t have any letters from him really, but I do have these great notes he would leave on or under my door if he had something important to say during his weekend visits home. Here are a few of my favorite excerpts:
“You do a pretty good job knowing when to ignore your brother and yesterday was a good example.”
Before a city softball tournament: “Many of the women will use VERY BAD language.”
“If you play first base, keep your foot on the side of the bag so no one will step on your ankle. They will possibly do this on purpose so as soon as you catch the ball get OFF the base.”
“Hit the ball your way (toward 3rd) and run hard (like a gazelle). 'Ain’t' many 3rd basemen who can throw you out.”
And his P.S.: “Get a trophy as big as the one I’m getting.” (in the tournament for which he had already left)

Our friendship continued to grow through phone conversations and weekend visits so my transition to the same university was completely uneventful. He lived two doors down and if I needed him, I could get him. I even went through pharmacy school in his wake where he had the same effect on people there as he had in high school. Graduation came, then marriages, children and then miles and miles in between us, the only yucky part of this whole story.

Blake is now my Daddy’s partner in the pharmacy in our hometown. I will never understand how two people can be so entirely different but yet, so much alike. I wouldn’t say “two peas in a pod” but definitely on the same vine. There have been times I’ve called the drugstore and have not been sure, at first, who answered. He shares my Daddy’s love for hunting and fishing, but where Daddy is content hunting things that fly, Blake hunts almost anything that can’t hunt him.

(Blake and his son, RJ)

To my delight (and relief), he actually liked Jeff when he met him. You know, these things can go either way. Even though Jeff enjoyed hunting and fishing, growing up in Atlanta didn’t provide a lot of opportunity for it so Blake would set him up in a deer stand or a boat any chance he got. Early one morning, my city boy won some respect by killing a 6 point buck. Jeff found out none too soon that Blake likes pratical jokes so now each of them always test their iced tea or coffee before they drink it because it might taste something like pepper sauce or salt. Jeff also learned quickly that Blake doesn’t sit still very long—no lounging around the house. When there is no ball to watch on the TV screen or fish biting in the pond or animals to hunt in the woods, beware. Once, when this happened, he asked Jeff if he wanted to go catch some arrows. Yes, shoot them up with a bow and catch them on the way down.

(Can you tell who won?)

He is married to Adele and is a “hands on” Dad with two great kids, RJ and Hunter, who absolutely adore him. He has coached some sport since his son could say “ball” and has developed some great athletes over the years who now are starting players at the high school. (RJ included) He has picked up boys all over town for practice, fed them and then taken them home. He and Adele have chaperoned these boys to out-of- town tournaments and for some of them, it may be the only time they ever leave our little town. He is making an impact on these kids in his own special way.

Can you tell, I kind of like him? He is a country boy through and through who uses gracious Southern manners, but, by choice, not so good English. However, he can fit right in at the Sunday brunch at the Waldorf-Astoria not to mention, get his money’s worth. Actually, Daddy’s money. He's got the best laugh and what's so great about it is that you hear it often, but the downside is that it is usually at your expense. As “bsd” commented on the first part, I have left out A LOT, but this is a blog, not a book. Life was certainly full (and running over) growing up as his little sister and I have the sweet memories to show for it. So, Blake, thanks for all the fun, for helping me maintain my weight, for all the forgiveness, for increasing my pain tolerance, for including me, for thickening my skin and for being a fantastic big brother. Happy 40th birthday! Just in case you forgot, I am still in my 30’s.


Anonymous said...

Probably the sweetest birthday present I could have gotten. Scared the keyboard is going to short circuit. Too many tears falling. All means so much coming from u. luv ya bsd

Dondra said...

I enjoyed getting to know your brother thru these wonderful words. Great post!

"Bluebonnet in the snow" said...

Beautifully done! And I love all the pictures!

melissa said...

loved this! inspired me to send a note to big brother.

TJ Wilson said...

K - finally catching up... have been anxious to read this. I had high expectations, and can't believe you captured Blake & your relationship in these paragraphs. Beautifully done, a completely overwhelming task! What a gem he is, and I love watching your relationship. Thank goodness for your big brother's influence -the good, bad and ugly! - every girl needs a brother like Blake in their life!
Love these posts, friend.