Friday, August 30, 2013

Brothers and Sisters

While it would’ve been easy enough to write about my own siblings and how awesome I think they are, this summer I took a trip out to the west coast and thus am in the fairly uncommon position of having seen all of my dad’s siblings within a three month period, which got me thinking about some other things.

I find siblings (and I suppose more broadly, family dynamics) really interesting. It’s always cool to meet a friend’s brother or sister and find out that some of the things you find unique about your friend exist in a similar way in a stranger. Some mannerism or turn of phrase or cadence in their laughter, even the shape of their smile. Family resemblance is pretty cool, too, and picking out which parts of which parent made it into each child's appearance.

My dad has six siblings, meaning that there's a larger sample size in his family for this sort of observation than in most others currently kicking around the modern world (I'm looking at you, Quiverfull Movement *shudder*). Also they all get along, which seems to be rather rare.

So, here are some thoughts I had about my dad and his brothers and sister.

Only my auntie and my uncle #3 are under six feet tall as far as I know, but my dad is built the tallest and "broadest" of all of them (he is the oldest, by the way). My youngest uncle, #5, is also very tall, but has a slimmer frame than my dad's. Oddly enough, I think he's also the one who looks most like my dad, tending toward my grampa's looks. Uncle #5 just told me the most adorable story about how he told my dad that he was looking for driving music, and my dad suggested he try Ennio Morricone. Uncle #5 told Dad that he liked some of the stuff, and Dad sent him a burned CD of some more Ennio Morricone music for Christmas last year. And now apparently every time Uncle #5 listens to the CD he thinks of my dad. Awww.

Somehow, I just for the first time ever noticed a couple of weeks ago that Uncle #1 and Uncle #4 look a lot alike. Uncle #1 wears coke-bottle strength glasses and Uncle #4 has very curly hair, so maybe those things concealed the likeness for a long time.

Uncle #1, #4, and #5 tend toward my grama's appearance, but Uncle #3 looks just like her. Uncle #2 has the most unique facial features.

My dad has worked in the sheet metal trade for basically his entire life, though not "on the tools" so much anymore (the fraction of it that he spent doing other things like being a baby and going to school is getting ever more insignificant). Uncles #4 and #5 are both working in that trade now, too. Uncles #2 and #3 are white collar, Uncle #1 and my Auntie are farm types.

The posture in my dad's family is out of this world. Not a single one of them slouches. Everyone has very dark brown hair, except my auntie, whose hair is more medium brown. My dad is the last one of them with a permanent moustache, although Uncle #2 tends to flirt with various facial hair configurations at various times.

When I drove out to BC this summer, my dad insisted on checking out the fluids in my car and the pressure in my tires to make sure everything was ok for the drive. In BC, before I left to come home, Uncle #5 basically insisted on doing the same thing.

The younger three uncles are the ones who live far away, everybody else lives in Saskatchewan.

I suspect most of this is largely irrelevant and uninteresting to most readers. But if you've never thought of doing it, I strongly urge you to observe a set of siblings with an eye to their similarities and where those might come from (and the differences, too).

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