My brother has a big heart. The biggest I've ever known.
He is older than I am and growing up we didn't always get along. There was hitting. tattling. vick's vapor rub applied to his underwear... He was going into junior high when I was in kindergarten. We didn't quite see eye to eye until I got a car. Then we had a common language. When I got my first car? The beloved Henna that smelled like maple syrup inside? He bought me a nice car stereo. AND he totally buffed out the paint when he sideswiped my car the first day I brought it home, because, well, he wasn't used to an extra car in the driveway. Also? He changed my oil regularly.
He loaned me his really cool (and expensive) racing bike so I had something fast to train on and ride in my very first triathlon.
He pulled out the stops to celebrate a Christmas with our then 92 year old Grandpa in NY; even though it can be really a pain to get to that part of NY at Christmastime when you have only a little time off and the weather and flights are lousy. It was "the right thing to do" to make sure Grandpa had a REAL tree and a REAL turkey dinner with lots of mashed potatoes and lots of presents under the tree.
He's also really nice to people he doesn't even know.
When I moved back from Sydney, I had the summer free before heading off to college. He let me share his 1 bedroom apartment. And then 2 guys that I sorta met? in Australia (in my effort to make nice with a bouncer, I gave out my brother's address because he said he was making a trip through the US) called up one afternoon and said, "Hey, our VW bus died in the desert on the drive from California and we took a bus to Houston and we're at this 7Eleven, so can you come get us?" And he let them stay there too.
When he flies somewhere, I've seen him buy something decent for the flight attendants to eat too.
He smiles when he makes small talk with the cashier, the waitress, the person standing in line behind him at the movies, the whoever. And he means it.
I can't remember a year that he didn't dress up as Santa to deliver toys to somebody.
He buys my boys the cool presents that they really really want, rather than the ones that his stingy mom thinks would be in their best interest.
And strangers are surprisingly nice to him. He can talk his way into (and out of) almost anything. One time when he came up to visit he brought his boat, to take Smith out sailing. He didn't have a good place to launch from, but headed out to the lake anyway and talked his way into a yacht club for the day to set sail. He also got the gate code so that I could come hang out at the yacht club too.
In Vancouver, he talked his way onto a boat to help crew for a race because he really really wanted to go sailing that night.
He's one of the few grown-ups I know that can really giggle.
He loves scary movies, Chevy Chase, and I'm certain that he was the inspiration for Ralphie.
He is much funnier than I am. More adventurous than I am. More able to dive into something with both feet when I tend to hang back and see what might happen. (Of course, that has earned him some nicknames, most of which relate to some bodily injury.) He has more stories that begin with "remember that time ..."
When he got married, I had a toast prepared but somehow between wrangling two youngsters and visiting with so many long unseen relatives, it was never delivered.
"To my brother, who has the biggest heart in the whole world. I'm so glad that he has finally found someone to share it with."
Now he has a couple (okay. that's wrong. a couple is two. A few? a trio? a company? a bunch?) more to share his heart with.