Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
The fun of swapping stories about our dad with my
One of my
fun projects in retirement is to get to know much better my only brother. Seth
is 11 years younger.
He and his wife
There were three sisters between us. Our youngest sister, Laurida,
died of cancer several years ago.
We think it a bit strange, yet a
blessing, that all five of us live close together, in what some of our friends
call “the Albritton compound.” That thought was enhanced when the county named
the road to the home place “
It is a short road that dead ends at the home which our parents
built in 1930. I am glad my parents both lived long enough to enjoy the road
being named in their honor.
along in the latter days of the Great Depression. Times were hard. Seth was
born in the middle years of World War II. Life was not as difficult then.
and I have always complained that our parents were harder on us than they were
on Seth. We enjoyed teasing him about the ways mom and dad pampered him.
Naturally he denied it.
supper the other night, after all these years, he admitted it! He said to me,
“You and my sisters had a much harder time than I did growing up.” It was fun
to hear him own up to it.
Now we will
have to tone down our teasing. But I still like to remind him that when I was a
boy I had to milk three cows every morning. But when he was a boy, our parents
sold the milk cows and started buying milk at the grocery store.
countered our attack by insisting that he cut a hundred tons of firewood more
than we cut because daddy preferred a wood-burning heater to propane gas heaters.
We have had a lot of fun comparing our hard times with each other.
and I look like brothers and people who knew our dad have always said that we
were “chips off the old block.” Dad was a big man all his life. Seth and I are
we talked about some of dad’s physical problems, and wondered whether or not
each of us will have those same problems.
Dad had a
heart attack in his seventies. Neither of us has had one yet. Maybe that
problem is in our future.
trouble with kidney stones. Seth has also. I have not. Seth smiled and said,
“When you have your kidney stone attack, remember that I told you that it will
be the worst pain you have ever endured. I thought I was going to die.”
me to imagine what that will feel like, and I can’t help but wonder if my genes
are programmed for kidney stones. Earl Ballard told me once that one kidney
stone attack made him beg for morphine and the pain caused him to wish he could
back trouble. Both of us have also. Dad had problems with his feet, especially
after he retired. Seth and I are walking in his footsteps in that regard also.
A man who
went to school with Seth asked me recently if Seth was my son or my brother. As
we chatted the man said, “You are not as tall as Seth, are you?”
now,” I told him. “When I was a young man I was six and a half feet tall, but
hard work and aging have worn me down to 5’ 11, and Seth is over six feet
With a wry
grin on his face the man looked at my waistline and said, “Well, you may be
getting shorter, but you don’t seem to be shrinking in the middle.” I realized
he had won so I changed the subject.
celebrate number 60 next July. I looked at him the other night after we had
shared stories for hours and thought to myself, I am going to enjoy getting to
know this man.
He is fun
to be around. He is not abrasive. He listens when others speak. He is not
absorbed with himself. He enjoys laughing. He has a wonderful memory and I
realize there is much for me to learn as he shares his memories with me.
He has interesting opinions,
positive ideas, about many subjects. He seemed to enjoy talking to me as much
as I delighted in talking to him. He is a hard working man, the kind of man our
dad would be proud to call his son.
We have a
few differences of course. He likes dogs. He keeps one around the house. He
told me he changed his mind about dogs when a house dog’s barking woke his son
Hank and saved his life after the house caught on fire.
dog stories or dogs that sit by the fireplace and never eat. I like dogs that
sit on the shelf and never bark.
few differences, I am truly excited at the prospect of getting to know this
strong but gentle man who is my brother. For nearly 60 years we have gone our
separate ways without really bothering to know each other.
I am glad
that is changing. For me it is one more of the surprising blessings that come