Posted in Family, Lucky Eleven

Kevin

Kevin from heaven in ’57. Mom always made up little rhymes to help her remember different things. I guess after five kids in six years, it wasn’t a bad idea.

I don’t have a ton of memories about Kevin as a kid. What I know for sure is he, Pat, and Brian, who came 13 months later, were a constant growing up. They did the same chores outside, rode the same minibikes, probably taking turns because I’m pretty sure there was only one, and got into the same trouble; some more willing to take the blame than others.

As a teen, Kevin joined his older brothers in Dad’s color-coating business during the summer months. While Kev is a swell guy, he’ll be the first to admit that, at the time, he was pretty much the laziest worker out there, dragging his feet, extending his breaks, just wishing the day would go faster so he could get out of the heat and back with his buddies. And he was a slob. Yes, the boys shared a room, so it couldn’t have been pretty to begin with. But as they got older, it got so bad I think mom just ended up keeping the door closed rather than have the fight.

I have one very funny memory of Kevin in his teens. My older sister had moved out, and I was sharing a small bedroom with my little sister (by 12 years) Molly. She was probably downstairs while I was in my room changing my clothes one night. For whatever reason, I noticed movement outside my dark window only to see a Kilroy-shaped shadow peeking down over the rooftop and into my room. I could see it was Kevin, and as soon as he saw me he popped his head up and scurried across the roof. I’m not sure I even mentioned it to my mom. Living with boys was a way of life for me, and I just learned later on to keep my guard up and my shades down.

Kevin moved to Colorado in 1982 and made his home in the Springs for the past 37 years. His daughter has graduated high school, and he and his new wife, Juley, recently bought their retirement home on the Florida Gulf. He’s an altogether lovely man in every way. He is non-judgmental, supportive, and loving to all his siblings, and even though we don’t see him regularly, when we do, it’s like time never passed. He loves to reminisce around a campfire, telling stories and listening to others’ versions of the same memory. The slob has been replaced by a refined rather OCD gentleman who has worked hard to enjoy the nicer things life has to offer.

In 2015, when he and I were both single and I was living on my own, Kevin and his daughter came for Thanksgiving. Early mornings gave us wonderful time for lengthy conversations on the lanai talking about the past, hopeful about our futures. We went to the beach for a great dinner and the next day zip-lined over the ‘gators in St. Augustine, with Angelina as agile as a monkey while he and I stayed a bit more cautious. After they’d gone, I found a card in my bedroom with five $100 bills and a note that said, “Thanks for your hospitality! Go shopping!” Honestly, to this day it’s one of the most beautiful and thoughtful things anyone has ever done for me, and I’ll never forget it.

He and Juley will both be retired soon, and I look forward to having them full-time in the sunshine state. Even though they’ll be on the Gulf side, I anticipate lots of visits back and forth and lots of new memories made.

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