“Tony, please come take a picture with me,” she pleads. He squats down and she runs over and puts her arm around him to pose for the camera. The adoration is apparent, in her eyes, in her touch, in her pose.
Every photo states “This is my one and only big brother”.
By the time she was in junior high, he had enlisted and was gone. He never returned to our hometown. He married a hometown girl and they made their living and raised their 3 children in Cincinnati, OH.
But, every year, bad weather and all, they drove back home for the Christmas holiday break. For 15+ years, they made the annual trek. It’s how I remember all the Christmases of my childhood. I, like my mother, grew up adoring my Uncle Tony.