My older brother Phil has always held a special place in my heart. He is 15 years older than me and had already graduated from high school by the time I was four. He was always funny and protective of his little sister. I remember one time when he was babysitting my older sister and me and he turned on the record player full blast as we learned how to “twist” in the hallway. He had a great collection of 45s which he gifted to me on my 7th or 8th birthday when I got my own record player as a gift from my parents.
Not long after that birthday, Phil was to meet the love of his life, Donna. I remember the first time he brought Donna home to meet us. Mom told us they were out lying on the backyard grass and that Donna must be very special as they hadn’t known each other that long for him to be introducing us. That spring, Donna the school teacher and Phil the young Burt Reynolds look-alike married in our local church with me looking on as their flower girl. I reminded Donna the other night how I was so upset when they said their goodbyes at their wedding reception just as they were leaving for their honeymoon. I didn’t want Donna to take my big brother away! Well Donna and Phil have been married for about 49 yrs now, so I guess it’s time I got over it.
In the interim, Phil has been a successful entrepreneur, devoted father and grampa, great athlete and my boss and mentor for a few years when I worked at his company. Over the years, he and Donna have travelled a great many places always returning for large periods of time to Florida. Unfortunately for me, that meant that we would not see much of each other for years at a time.
So it was so lovely to have an opportunity to visit with my brother and his wife at their home in Marco Island. Donna was apologetic because the a/c unit was not operational and the condo was rather warm. Hey, with the Gulf breezes blowing in, the gorgeous view and the excellent company, what was there to complain about? As an extra treat, their daughter and family met us for drinks and dinner. Once again, I had not seen Diana and family since 2006. And I hardly recall seeing her husband Paul since their engagement party in Ottawa about 15 (or is it more?) yrs ago. What a fine reunion it was! Of course, it gave everyone a chance to get to know Leon a bit better, us being newly weds and all (5 yrs is still considered newly wed to us).
The evening featured some very large shrimp, lots of wine and bubbly (Donna knows I love my bubbles) and some great conversations. But was perhaps most treasured for me was the time to have a private chat with my big brother about some of our current concerns and future plans.
We spent the night comfortably in their guest room, oblivious to the warm air and enjoyed a lovely breakfast on the terrace. Donna had prepared fresh fruit, eggs and yogurt for our feast. We took a short walk on the shell scattered beach while Phil stayed behind to supervise the a/c replacement. And then we had to say our goodbyes as the open road east to Key Largo awaited.
As to why PhillyBob is legendary? I am not too sure. As a matter of fact, I don’t even know where his name came from (that’s probably a great story though). I do know that Phil will always be a little larger than life in my eyes.
Thanks for the great visit folks!