05 January 2006

johnny



"I'M BLEEDING!"

this is what we heard our mother scream from the downstairs bathroom on christmas morning thirty years ago. I was only five but knew something big was about to go down. I remember being scared but also a little concerned about the status of the christmas presents that lay waiting magically for us under the tree. this 'bleeding' that my mom claimed she was experiencing... did this mean we weren't going to get to open any presents? or would we just have to endure some sort of momentary delay? the details are fuzzy after that. there was the dramatic declaration of blood, the wondering about the presents and then a mad jumble of events. in no particular order: grandparents were called, you (dear baby brother von) were born (christmas day!), grandparents arrived, gifts were (tentatively) torn into, the end. a week later, my mother came home, weak and smiling. I remember that her face looked so shiny to me that day. and then finally, under mom and dad's watchful eyes, I held you in my lap. you were like a little giant, not at all like the delicate baby dolls I had been practicing on. pretty rad christmas present-- better even than the holly hobby colorforms, I promise.

sadly, my wishes are belated. and I suppose this is what it has been like to celebrate a birthday on christmas each year. I've been in the front row since the beginning, brother, so you think I would've known better. still, I can't help but celebrate you. welcome to a brand new age bracket. I remember thinking that I would be SO OLD when you turned thirty and now here we are.

oh yes, you were leaving trails of powdered sugar all around the house and always always stirring things up. you and your infamous parachute pants (weren't they really just BMX pants?), shocking and wowing the kin with your b-boy moves. funniest kid ever and so stinking bright.



though really- my words here can't even begin to compare with what you gave me on my 30th. do you recall? all of us sitting on the floor, barefoot around that big table at the imperial fez, eating moroccan food with our hands and watching belly dancers jiggle and gyrate. when all the drunk stupid people around us from all the sad little office christmas parties threatened to cheapen the vibe of the night, you got up in front of everyone, cleared your throat and silenced the room. you announced to the checked out crowd that it was your sister's 30th birthday and that you had a gift to present to me. you proceeded (in a loud and confident voice) to perform eric b. and rakim's classic rap 'paid in full'. it was at once the most awkward, most beautiful thing ever and one of the most memorable things about that night.

I wish I could reciprocate, I do. all the same, happy 30th. just look at you now.

18 comments:

  1. My brother's birthday is today too. I love him, he is my heart. He wrote me a song on my wedding day. It still brings down tears to this day. Brother/sister love...there is nothing like it!

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  2. That's a pretty sweet post. My sister was born on Christmas!

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  4. now that scene on that very christmas morning should be in a movie! i know it was probably pretty scary at the time; but your thoughts whether or not the christmas presents were going to be opened or not are so honest and exactly what any five year old would be thinking. (i was howling!) and of course you did such an amazing depiction.

    happy birthday to this special christmas present of a brother!

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  5. I have to say that Von is probably one of the most interestng people that I have ever met. Really. Seriously. Great guy with a great heart and a great talent to boot.

    And yes, his birthday gift to you at the Fez was CLASSIC. Everyone, you should've been there. It was flawless.

    Happy Belated Birthday to You, Vonnie!

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  6. Happy Belated Birthday Johnny! Aren't brothers the best!

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  7. Von, you're 30? Seems like only a summer or two back I watched you ride a broken down bike around Oil Belt. I hope you had a great birthday!

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  8. it's a gift to get older with a brother or two (in my case). thanks for reminding me of the insane amount of joy surrounding sibling relations!!!

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  9. happy birthday to your cool brother. these are great stories and his skills at the morrocan swoiree sound hillarious and awesome all at once. you have seriously got one cool family.

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  10. happy birthday to the only one in the world allowed to call me kendi! you've been catching me off guard with your keen wit ever since the first time i met you at that CBC basketball game. remember? i had no idea who you were and you were sitting with your friends in the crowd. as i walked by you called out, "hey! are you the one going on a date with my brother?" shy, awkward me stopped dead in my tracks and had my first taste of corrona humor. here's to all the memories! happy birthday vonnie...come visit!

    great tribute andrea!

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  11. How sweet is this! Wonderful tribute! ...oh, and my little sister turned 30 this year too...woo hoo!!!

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  12. i think your post is of equal value as his rap performance for you :)

    how lovely that you have such a good relationship w/ your brother....

    you are such a good storyteller.... i'm always right THERE with you....
    xo

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  13. I love the way you write Andrea. I love being a big sister too.Big smiles from May-retta.

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  14. How lucky you are to have such a close knit family. You inspire me in so many ways, and this...just one more to add to the list. My brother will also turn 30 this year, and I hope that we will truly realize how fortunate we are to have one another. Thank You! and great post as always!

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  15. What a sweet tribute...
    Happy 30th von, This is my year for 30 too!

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  16. Holy shit that IS classic. Way to think of a master plan, Von.

    Nice tribute, Andrea. That great photo says it all.

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  17. thanks all! talked to my bro the other night and I know he dug all the comments...

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