Farewell to a Brother

brothers1949.jpgI am feeling blue because my older brother Ted is moving to Nevada. We have been sidekicks since my first conscious memories of life. I remember when he was about four and I was about two. For his birthday, my parents gave him a toy wooden train that you pulled around the floor with a string. There were several cars attached to an engine. It made a squawking noise and rang bells, I think, when you pulled it. My memory may be a little fuzzy after sixty years. Anyway, I wanted to play with it and Ted didn’t want me to, so we had a fight about it. I bawled my eyes out and he got in trouble.  Mom made Ted let me play with his train and I enjoyed doing so, but had to live with the guilt later.

In a couple of years Ted and I were wearing red cowboy hats and patrolling our neighborhood with our trusty six-shooter cap guns, ready to do battle with any Indians or bandits who made the mistake of stumbling into our street in Clovis, New Mexico. However, the cowardly curs always stayed away. A wise decision.

A couple more years passed and we moved to Joplin, Missouri. Ted started first grade while I stayed home with my mom. I really hated that. The world had grabbed my brother by the butt and carried him off into a fearful unknown. He came home in the afternoons with wonderful stories to tell, tales of lunchrooms, playgrounds and obnoxious girls. There was also a corner store near school where you could buy colorful rings that turned your finger green. To me, Ted had become Marco Polo.

In the great events of life, Ted always took the lead. He was the older brother, so it was natural. I always wanted to follow him wherever he went, and that continued into adulthood. Once he moved to Arizona to be near our parents and I followed as soon as I could. The night I pulled up to my parents’ house trailer in Mesa with all my belongings packed in my VW bug, I immediately noticed a big yellow Ryder truck. I knew it was Ted’s. He left the next morning for California, moving back to San Jose with his family. I, however, had a very career-important job in Phoenix and had to stay there another two years before I could move back too.

More years passed. Ted moved to Texas. Before I could figure out a way to convince my wife to move, Ted moved back to San Jose.

Now Ted has sold his house in San Jose and is moving to Nevada to retire. I won’t follow him this time, as he has his family obligations and I have mine. But I don’t like it.


9 responses to “Farewell to a Brother

  1. I agree Pop! I don’t like the fact that my uncle Ted is moving away. Well, it gives us a reason to visit Nevada… He is only probably like 6 hrs away.

  2. Hi guys come up anytime!!! But remember I havea motorhome and will be back there alot to visit. I have spent 2 brutal months fixing up my house to sell and had no time at all for anything else. I am using my laptop on my wife’s relatives dsl acdcount. lord do I miss my old broadband account in sillycon vaalley. It is hot as blazes here. I worked on the house til the last minute I had to roll away from it in my motorhome. I will have my own dsl account soon and will send you new email addy. This nevada town has magnificent huge stores selling everything cheaper than in Calif. I am parked in a shady glen by a creek on my wife’s mother’s property. I have to quit now and take a nap!!!
    That’s what we old retired guys do alot of. I am slowly realizing the sillycon valley lifestyle is a coronary in waiting and thank GOD I am out of it. Ted

  3. The times they are a changin’

    Some of my fondest memories as a teenager involve Teddy! I remember I use to cut school and cruise around with Ted in his Handy Spot truck. We would listen to Country Music and smoke cigarettes. We would deliver to grocery stores everything from Hairspray to Aspirin. We would laugh at some of the products we delivered, like the Latino Product called, “Super Macho!” It was some sort of vitamin, I think. Often we would sit on pallets, in the back of some store and Ted would school me in the finer arts of picking up girls. There were times I would push my way into his music room while he was practicing for the a weekend gig. He showed me my first licks on the guitar. Those times are long gone but they are some of my precious memories! I hope to see Ted again. It was always an adventure when you were with Ted!

    P.S. You still owe me a Hummingbird!

  4. The hummingbird will be yours someday. unc ted

  5. I miss my father, but I have my entire life. He’s always been there nearby, but just out of reach. He had to work a lot to support four kids, and I understand that. My husband Dan said he knows, as a father, that you have to work to support your family. So of course he had to work two jobs (day job and night job as a musician) to take care of us.

    I only wish I had learned an instrument besides the organ! I would have liked to have played drums. I wish I had a singing voice, like Dad does. But, God gives you your gifts, and unfortunately, I love to sing but I sound terrible! I admire Dad for his voice and for his natural musicality.

    I learned just how talented Dad is when he played guitar and sang “Amazing Grace” at his mother’s funeral on January 7th, 2007. When he said he played the song he performed for his class along with his mother backwards, I couldn’t believe it. A six-year-old thinking very quickly on his feet and delivering that impromptu song like that? How does one know how to play backwards? That’s talent!

    I have never seen the picture of Dad and his brother Gary accompanying this article. It is so cute. My son Mitchell is six years old, a first grader, as Gary describes Dad back then, and Mitchell looks so much like Dad in this picture it’s astonishing. Waltrip genes run down through the generations–From Grandpa Foy Waltrip to my dad Ted Waltrip to me, Shannon, and then to my son Mitchell.

    I know that people are attracted to Dad’s personality like moths to a flame. He has a sense of humor and the gift of communication like no one else I know.

    I’ve been told I’m my father’s daughter and no greater compliment has been given to me.

    I’m glad Dad is giving his mind and body a well-deserved rest after working so hard all of his life.

    I’ll miss you, Dad, and I love you.

  6. Hi Ted, the brother gary forgot wishes you well.

  7. hi ted, your forgotten brother wishes you well.

  8. Dennis
    I can’t get your email to work
    Email me at tedreb@cccomm.net


  9. Very nice retrospective. I wish my younger brother – whose name is Dennis – had wanted to follow me around like that.

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