Went to My Big Brother's the Other Day... I grew up in East Houston as the youngest of 5 kids in my family (I actually had a twin (Millie) who made it to the world 5 minutes ahead of me). There was Mom, Dad, Bobby, Debbie, Michael, Millie and myself. Dad passed away in 2000 and cancer took Millie a few years ago. Very early on in my childhood, I stood in awe of my oldest brother, Bobby. Bobby is five years older than me. He was always the smartest, the fastest runner, the strongest, the biggest and when necessary, the baddest. The years quickly passed and in no time we were all out on our own in the world carving out lives for ourselves. My parents soon had grandkids all over the place and the years seemed to go by even faster. Even though we all went our own way in life, we all remained in East Texas. Early on in Bobby's adult life, he was fortunate enough to live next door to our grandfather (Willie Preston Jenkins) for a couple of years. We always called our grandfather "Big Daddy". To this day, I have yet to meet a man that was as organized and as charismatic as Big Daddy. When bad things did happen and Big Daddy showed up, I knew that everything was going to be okay. Big Daddy taught Bobby basic wood working in the area of cabinet making and other basic furniture. Big Daddy passed away in 1984 but part of his legacy still lives through Bobby. Bobby has since taken his woodworking skills to new heights and regularly builds things for people and businesses. He resides in Dayton and has all the equipment, the experience, and the know how to make some really nice stuff. Soooooooo.... The other day when I purchased an original hand painted oil on canvas painting of Jimi Hendrix, I was wondering how to frame out the painting. The painting depicts Jimi in a studio playing a Fender Stratocaster guitar. The first idea that came to me was to get in touch with Bobby about it. Bobby himself turned me on to Jimi Hendrix many years ago. We both marvel at how Jimi totally changed the style of rock music with his innovative use of guitar. We talk about how Jimi was so much more than a technical phenomenon on guitar, but how he put so much feeling into his music. Bobby admitted that he's never framed out a painting before, but he was confident we could tackle the job.
Some Things Never Change... When I arrived, there was Bobby in his shop planing some cypress lumber that's from cypress trees in Liberty County. I helped him finish the planing and then we turned our attention to Jimi. First, we put on some Jimi Hendrix music. Bobby had some scrap cypress lumber that we used to frame the painting out. We were both admittedly a little nervous for fear of damaging the original painting, but we proceeded nonetheless. In no time, it was like we were kids again and there I was with my big brother as he helped me fix something that was important to me (just as he did at times when we were kids). Bobby took all the care he could as he and I framed out the painting, tacked it the cypress frame, then trimmed it out in cypress. Framing out a canvas oil painting was uncharted territory for us, but we pulled it off and were both more than happy with the finished product. Afterwards, we stood the painting up, and sat in lawn chairs in Bobby's shop. We looked at the painting and talked about Jimi Hendrix amongst other things. After we visited for awhile, it was time for me to get home. I loaded the painting into my car, and thanked my big brother for his help. Looking back, things in my family were never perfect. I don't know if I've ever known of a family that wasn't dysfunctional, but life goes on. The older we get, the more it should become clear to us that some of the problems we had coming up or disagreements we may have had are no reason to not stay in touch. The years are going by faster and faster, it's a good idea to stay in touch with your family (the ones you grew up with).
Planing local cypress (Bobby is sometimes a cutup).
Bobby had some scrap cypress laying around that he used. He's using a table saw to rip pieces for the framing.
Bobby knows how to make perfect 45 degree corners (something I've never been able to do).
Couldn't have done this without my big brother.
Jimi looks good on my living room wall.
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