January 19, 2006 at 8:28 a.m.
A funny thing happened while he was away and it’s difficult to understand how it took place at all. Despite spending half our lives apart from one another, 2,000 miles away in entirely dissimilar surroundings, Jim and I now seem more alike than ever. In many ways, I’d go so far as to say that we’re uncannily alike. There was a time when I was convinced - beyond a shadow of a doubt - that we were poles apart, two brothers different in every respect, but I now find far more similarities between us than differences.
When Jim’s 14-year-old daughter, Christina, flew up from San Diego a few weeks ago to spend Christmas vacation with us, she and I took a short drive into St. Croix Falls to run an errand. Driving across the river on Highway 8, we began to chat about how her mother and aunts and uncles were doing and how school was going. It was a short time later that I began to feel somewhat uncomfortable. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that she was staring at me. Finally, I couldn’t stand it any longer and said, “What?! Do I need to wipe my nose or something?” Christina shook her head slowly and replied with a big goofy grin on her face, “Boy, you sure do look and sound like my dad.”
Last weekend Jim and I fished for crappies on a lake near Chanhassen. It had been two decades since he’d been out ice fishing. As we sat in my portable fish house for those few hours last Saturday, we didn’t feel the need to say too much or ask too many questions. We didn’t feel compelled to bridge a 20-year gap and attempt to explain to each other all of the good and not so good changes that occurred in that time. It was as if we both thought, “Yeah, we were apart for a lot of years, but now we’re together again. Let’s just leave it at that and go on from here.” That works for me.
It was quietly satisfying to enjoy each other’s company under a bright January sky on a frozen lake, conversing about nothing in particular and catching crappies together. I know that Jim would agree with me that, for now, being together again and sharing a passion for fishing and hunting and the outdoors is all that two brothers can ask of each other. There’s no doubt about it, 20 years is a long time and we have a lot of catching up to do, but that will take care of itself in due time.
Dan Brown’s weekly outdoor column is brought to you by Frankie’s Bait and Marine, in Chisago City, and St. Croix Outdoors, in St. Croix Falls, Wis.
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