“We’re brothers / We’re happy and we’re singing and we’re colored / Give me a hi-five!”
November 3rd, 2015 marks a very special day…my big brother turns 40…THE BIG 4-0. And I think I’m just as excited as he is, as we plan to celebrate this weekend with an NFL trip. Anyone who knows me, knows him…and anyone who knows him, knows me – it’s just the way it is, and the way it will always be.
You see, our parents raised us this way. We were raised to care for and look out for one another. We were raised in the era of the older sibling is the 3rd parent. Jerold was always my parent, and always responsible for me…whether he liked it or not. But I too had to always follow his example and listen to him…whether I liked it or not.
Birthdays are a time of reflection, especially when you hit a milestone like 40. Most African-American men can’t say they’ve made it to 40 without being in jail or being a victim of the streets – and our father wasn’t having any of that! But my brother really is the 2nd most important adult in my life, next to my wife. Not only is he my biological brother, he’s my Christian brother, my fraternity brother and my best friend. We talk about everything, family, sports, religion – you name it. We also have similar personalities, yet we are very different. I’ve never made a major decision in my life without asking for his guidance. I’ve never tried to right my wrongs without asking for his counsel. And as we get older, I’ve been able to repay him by giving him advice and counsel during the past few years that have seen lots of changes with his family and his career.
As I started reflecting, I was going to share 40 of the best moments that we have shared together, but then I thought that might be a little long…so in staying the theme of 40, I’ve decided to share the 4.0 best memories with Jerold.
1.0 | The year was 1989, and Jerold has just accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior and wanted to be baptized. Back then, you had to come before the church and make your statement, and the pastor would ask you a series of questions, and then the church would publicly accept you into the body. I remember sitting on the front row when this happened, eyes filled with tears. Reverend Thurmond Coleman, Sr. was our pastor, and I remember him asking the family to stand up. My mom was in the choir stand and my dad was in the congregation, and then Rev says “now where’s your brother”, and when he saw me, Rev said “awww, look at that, he’s crying too”. It would only be a few weeks later, that I too would accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and of course when I did, Rev said “I see you are following in the footsteps of your bother”.
2.0 | The year was 1999, and I was in the middle of my fraternity initiation process at UK. And for anyone who’s been there, you know what it’s like. I remember calling Jerold on the phone one night, and telling him that I don’t think I can make it! We talked for awhile, and he shared with me his initiation process at Tennessee State University where he became a Mason. He gave me lots of encouragement to continue the journey. A few weeks after that, he and I both would become Distant Sands, and members of the greatest fraternity in the world, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
3.0 | The year escapes me, but it was in the early 90s, and Jerold and I were at the Kentucky State Fair. We were there for the concerts that were held at Cardinal Stadium. Back then…when we both had hair…people would say we must have Indian in our family!!! We both had curly and wavy hair, and we both had box hair cuts. So as we are sitting down, these girls behind us ask us “Are you two in H-Town?”… And H-Town was actually performing that night at the concert. We were both dying laughing at that question, but we still talk about it to this day. Two light-skinned brothers sitting in general admission seats being mistaken for R&B performers?!?!?!
4.0 | The year was the early 2000s, and Jerold has just started working at Humana. Most kids in their 20s, can’t wait to move out on there own and spend all their money. Not Jerold…no, no, no. He is one of the most frugal people I have ever met, but his frugalness always pays off. When he first started working, he stayed at home with our parents so that he could stack his cheese. Rather than drive downtown to Humana, he would drive to the TARC stop and catch the bus into work, because he could save a lot more money that way versus paying for parking downtown. He had a budget for everything. I remember asking him to do something with me, and he didn’t have any cash in his pocket at the moment, but he processed his budget in his mind and said “if I take a little money from here this week, I can replace it back next week with something else”, and the decision only involved $5! But he’s always been like that, very careful with how he manages his finances and he’s always someone I consult about finances.
Man, there are so many other memories that I can share with this guy that would have you in tears, like the time he acted like a little girl when we went to swim with the stingrays…STRAIGHT COMEDY!!! Jerold, next to my wife and kids, is the most important person in my life. He’s my best friend, but he’s also my biggest fan. I look forward to sharing the next 40 years with you sir – I love you!