Sunday, August 26, 2012

A trip down memory lane

I just got back from Disney World. This was a trip we intended to take with Michael and Jen, so it was hard that he was not there.

Back in 2002, Christina and I signed up for the Disney Vacation Club - it's a timeshare, more or less, that works on a point system. We usually go every other year and stay in a two-bedroom suite, so the kids have their own room. This time, since we were intending to have another couple along, we booked a "grand villa" which has three bedrooms, a dining room, a living room, a tv area, three bathrooms, a laundry room and a full kitchen. It's bigger than most NYC apartments, I think - more than 2100 square feet, which is as much finished square footage as my house.

It's way too much space for four people, which reminded me of who I was missing. That wasn't all bad - yes, I'm still grieving, but I was also reminded of Michael and the trip we shared back in 2005.

When he was going through his second divorce, we spent a lot of time talking, and had made plans to take a trip to Disney together. He'd never been there, so I was going to get to play native guide, which is something I enjoy doing. I made the room and dinner reservations (with a lot of assistance from Christina), and he booked a flight to Orlando. We were really looking forward to it, since we were not seeing each other much, with him living in Colorado and me in Minnesota.

In between making the plans and taking the trip, though, his plans changed a bit. He was in his second motorcycle accident, which gave him some minor brain damage. Just enough that he had a hard time concentrating, making it hard for him to work full-time. It turns out that concentration is important for working as a communications specialist, researching and writing for publications. So he decided to make a life change, move back to Minnesota and return to school to get his BA in English and then pursue a Master's in education, intending to become a teacher.

So as it happened, he spent a week in Colorado packing his house (with Mom's help), then put her on a plane back to Minnesota, flew to Florida to spend four days at Disney with me, then flew back to Colorado, got into a truck and met me at my house two days later. Wild.

Our time at Disney was fun. I hadn't been there without kids since my kids were born (that's 1998-99 for those of you who don't know me), and it's a different experience as an adult. We spent our first evening at the bar in the Animal Kingdom lodge, which was a new thing for me. Not spending an evening at a bar - I've done that plenty of times - but spending an evening at a bar in Disney World. That was new.

We saw Off Kilter play in Canada at World Showcase, and I think Mike bought one of their albums. We stopped to see Matsuriza play in Japan, spent afternoons idly wandering through the shops, and had a great time.

One of the things about being a sibling is that you can communicate on many levels. We didn't need to talk in order to communicate, although we did plenty of talking. Our second day, we had dinner at Rose & Crown, and I learned about the way bangers & mash was served at the pub Mike went to with the Centennial Pipe Band on his Scotland trip - with the sausage "sticking up in a rather suggestive way" from the mashed potatoes.

We had an awesome dinner at House of Blues, with the best soundtrack I could have imagined - for whatever reason, they had an 80s new wave marathon going on, and we were reliving our childhood and talking about the albums we bought and the concerts we attended.

It was a great trip, and I'm glad I got to share it with my brother.

I wish I could have one more.


Dave Matheny said...

When the tears well up -- well, almost anything could do it for me, but most of all it's music.

Last winter I was over at Michael's house doing something with the shelves, and I recalled having just stumbled across a particularly beautiful Turlough O'Carolann tune called "Blind Mary" on Youtube. I asked him if knew it or had heard it.

"I KNOW it," he said.

He was sitting in his room full of guitars and reached out for one. He then played it -- simply and with understanding. When he was done he looked up and we just grinned at each other.

It's a pity I don't have a copy of him playing it, but the video that inspired it, so to speak, is here:

Dave Matheny said...

Has anybody else noticed a remarkable resemblance between Michael and Dan Tyminski?

(For those who don't know, Tyminski did the vocal on "Man of Constant Sorrow" in the "O Brother, Where Art thou?" movie. He doesn't appear.)

Amy Burge said...

Thank you both for sharing your stories. I can feel the tears on the periphery, but I am smiling. I wish I could hear him play, see him smile, hear his laugh...any of those things. All the little things we usually take for granted.

John Slade said...

I wish you could have had one more as well...

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