Today is my big brothers birthday.

This is hard to write.  I have been thinking about it and planning it for a few months now.  I am not quite sure how to condense all that I want to say; How to put into words the respect and pride that I have for my older brother.  Nathan is my hero - I know that sounds lame.  But, for everyone that knows him - they would understand why.  He is a great role model.  He is a wonderful grandson, son, brother, husband, and father.  But, Nathan has more titles than just those.  He is a Farmer, Road Commissioner, Small Business Owner, Truck driver, Excavator, Lions Club Member, Auctioneer, Raises Animals - pigs, cows, and chickens, Gardener, Writer (he is famous in our family for his entertaining Annual Christmas letter) - Just to name a few.  The list could go on and on.  He should have been named Jack, for Jack of all trades!

He is all of these wonderful things - and he does them with his whole heart.  He is kind and sincere.  He always remains positive no matter what the load is or how heavy it gets. 


Nathan has always been all of these great things - but, when he was younger he also had a little wild side to him as well.  A wild side that I admired when I was a teenager.  I was his side kick.  I got to hang out with him and all of his friends.  We got a little rowdy on an occasion or two, times in my life that really go down in history for me as some of the best memories I have ever lived.  Even on the nights when I wasn't in tow for Nathan's adventures, he woke me up when he got home to fill me in on his latest mischief.    Those were the days.  Wild and free - and completely stupid.  We made it out, and have some great stories to tell.  In those days it was all about nice cars and great tunes.  When I hear the songs of my teenage days, I am taken back to driving around with my big brother and his friends (Chet, Andy, Gator, Keith, Steve ).

First, there was the family mini van.  My parents were generous enough to let us drive a hand-me-down vehicle.  It was an 85 Dodge Mini Van, white with wood panels.  Boy oh boy, are there A LOT of stories that van could tell!!  It was passed down to the oldest 3, so I was lucky enough to drive it as well (yah me).  Then there was the 1987 Z28 Camero.  I loved that car.  Nathan loved that car! Then came the 1987 Formula Firebird - I found it for sale.  I chased a guy down to get the selling price so I could pass it onto Nathan.  In that car was Tom Petty and Free Falling, David Lee Murphy and Dust on the Bottle, and anything Eddie Rabbit and Steve Earl - on repeat.  Then he bought a 1990 Dodge Ram.  He LOVED that truck.  With the Dodge came George Strait, Travis Tritt, Joe Diffie - and many others.  To many to list. Here is are a few that make me think of Nate, and I smile every time:

 Those times have long passed.  Nathan has grown up.  He has traded in the fast cars for a mini van.  And, he couldn't be happier.  He has 4 wonderful kids.  He only stays up late if there is a sow farrowing pigs.  But, a few things remain the same: love, determination, hard work and a great smile.  And of course, good music - on repeat.