“Those Elder Boys*”


Elder Boys’ Ballad:

I could do nothing to stop

theirs – and my – glad smiles!

 

  • (Radio talker Larry Elder spends some quality time with his older brother Kirk Randolph Elder Fridays on the Libertarian’s Phone-A-Bro contest segment near the end of his Monday-Through-Friday broadcasts from Los Angeles.  Try as he might, Larry, the middle son who wrote Dear Father, Dear Son: Two Lives – Eight Hours about a planned-for 10-minute “confrontation” and “air-cleaning” of a young and puzzled if not angry Midwest lawyer who escaped South Central LA to go to Brown University and then Law School with his estranged U.S. Marine Corps World War II no-nonsense small diner cook and owner of a father with whom he had not spoken for too many years.  The book zinged me right back to confrontations with my own Pacific and Atlantic Theaters U.S. Navy  enlisted-aviator WWII father-turned small engine mechanic and slayer of many fish The similarities were past striking.  In a series of email exchanges, Larry and I discovered we each were middle boys – of three – and my middle name mirrored his older brother Kirk’s first name, and else besides.  He was gracious and encouraging: encouraging me to continue trying to get my older and younger brothers to read his book (since Dad had passed years before), and that his relationship with his own father at times mirrored mine as well.  We fished, talked little, and recalled old times – some pithy, some bitter and some nicely poignant as I spent at least one Mid-week “weekend” a month – often more if work brought me by their Central Florida home – to help mom with her cleaning before her bug-spray man came ’round and to do those other chores which grated on dad’s intemperate sense of who-knows-what: I was privileged to be able to quit work as a sports editor/photographer/investigative and governmental affairs reporter to move back to Sanford in their medically challenging latter years: seven years pestering mom and 11 enduring and being endured by dad.  Not many young Americans my age – 70 this summer – got to spend so many days in the presence of their parents well into adulthood.  I was both blessed and cursed to enjoy and endure their love and concern and my own love for them did nothing but grow in the rich compost of exasperation, bewilderment and occasionally bemusement.  And had I not tuned-in one early evening to hear this Sage of South Central, Prince of Peco(sp?) Union, ‘El’ Dersky, ad infinitum, ad not-nauseum, I would not have found I had company understanding those sons of lost fathers who endured The Great Depression, and willingly faced our nation’s foes during World War II in in my dad’s case well beyond, who chose not to be warm and cuddly and demanded sometimes too much.  And so much more. Larry typically – always! – signs off from the show-ending stint with brother Kirk – the story on Dennis, the youngest brother, is somewhat explained in The Book – with “Love you, Bro,” to which Kirk cryptically replies not and poor Larry gags it up.  These two must have rehearsed that repartee forever to get it to swim so smoothly.  Check ’em – and The Book – out!)

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