Dixie Darr

Oh, Brother

In Learning on July 10, 2017 at 5:47 am

If you’re the first born in your family, no matter what they may say or do, your siblings probably idolize you. I know I always wanted to do whatever my big brother did.
When I was about five, my mother told me I could no longer go shirtless like my brother in the summer. I learned that being a girl placed some restrictions on what I could do, a fact that purely pissed me off, a state I retain to this day.
When Danny was born, the nurses told my mom that she couldn’t name him Danny–that was a nickname. She named him that anyway because her favorite song was Danny Boy. She also insisted we play that song at her funeral, which makes me throw up a little in my mouth. I mean, we didn’t have to play Dixie. Don’t tell me he wasn’t her favorite.
When I entered fifth grade, his former fifth-grade teacher pulled me out of my assigned class and insisted that she would have Danny’s sister in her class. She lost that battle, although she succeeded in humiliating me in front of the entire student body. That was probably when I lost the thrill of being “Danny’s sister.”
In high school he became Dan. When he joined the Air Force a few years later, they told him in no uncertain terms that his name was Danny. I think he resigned himself to it as distinctive, although people who meet him still try to call him Dan. He corrects them.
Many of my high school friends had a crush on him, and he ended up marrying one of them (the one I picked, although he might not acknowledge that). They’ll be married 50 years in November, and I’ve still known her longer than he has.
They have two beautiful, smart, creative daughters plus an absolutely perfect grandson and granddaughter. He enjoys woodworking and has made many soon-to-be heirloom pieces for his grandchildren.
He loves reading almost as much as I do. He would dispute the “almost.”
A generous man, he gives me great gifts, including my Kindle and Echo Dot. Without my asking, he installed a screen door to my balcony, so I can get some ventilation and not lose my cat.
I’m most proud of him for quitting a flourishing career with a high-tech company to go back to school at 50 and earn a master’s in architecture because he always wanted to be an architect.
We share a peak experience from the summer I was 16 and he was 18 when he took me to see the Beatles at Red Rocks.
He turns 71 today. Happy birthday, Danny, from your favorite (only) sister.

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