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Bobbieís Beat

Posted: Friday, Nov 16th, 2012

Burt and Bobbie Lippman, left, are pictured with her kid brother Paul and his wife, Dorothy, in 2005 as the two couples embarked on a cruise together. (Courtesy photo)

Brotherly love

When I was 13, a baby boy arrived in my life. Now that I have your attention and you are sufficiently shocked, let us get on with the story. The baby belonged to my middle-aged (back when 45 was considered middle-aged) parents who were overjoyed at what they surely considered a surprise gift from God. My older brothers were rather blasť about this new addition to our family, but I milked it for all it was worth. My teenage girlfriends treated me with new interest and were constantly dropping by our house to play with the baby - more so later when he turned into a talkative toddler. He was actually more fun than a new puppy.

I have never written about my kid brother Paul (that former little redheaded munchkin), so itís about time. He will probably be embarrassed by this, but I donít care. He lives in Omaha with his wife, Dorothy, and thatís too far for revenge. They met when she was 13 and Paul 16. They never had googly eyes for anyone else. They married six months after Burt and I got married, so itís easy to remember one anotherís anniversaries. I have no clue as to why I have never written about Paul. Iíve certainly shared stories about my other brothers, so Iíll stop trying to analyze and just tell you that Paul is one of these rare people who are so good, so caring, so unbelievably thoughtful no matter with whom he is dealing - the exact opposite of my own devilish nature. To my knowledge, he has never done one rotten thing, nor did he drive Mom and Dad nuts like I did. Paul and Dot are both teachers - he teaching math to middle school kids (70 of them) and Dorothy recently retired from 30 years with little ones. They are both very active in their church. Their kids, Julie and Ken, are off in third world countries, with their mates and children, doing what they refer to as ďbringing a bit of light into our worldís dark places.Ē We all pray for them - a lot!

But my focus today is on Paul. Iíve always referred to him as my kid brother even now after all these years. I truly believe his arrival in my parentís life was meant to be. He kept them hopping, and he kept them young. Our dad had a childrenís drum and bugle corps for 32 years, sponsored by Union Pacific Railroad. We all grew up in the corps, and when Paul was four, his uniform matched Dadís, and he marched in parades (carrying a bugle) a few feet behind Dad. A favorite story is of the time the band came to an abrupt halt and 4-year-old Paul wasnít paying attention. He crashed smack into his fatherís long legs.

I left the nest at 17 but continued to make many trips to Omaha, and feel I didnít miss out on very much of seeing Paul grow up into the fine man he is today.

There was a time when we lived in Los Angeles that I set a goal to run half a dozen 10K races. Paul was also into running, and when he knew I was coming to Omaha to see the family, he challenged me to do a 10K run together - jut the two of us. Of course, being a math whiz, he measured out a route through Omaha streets that was exactly 6.2 miles. My memory of running those miles together with my brother is extra special because it was a rare, private time not surrounded by family and friends - an uninterrupted time for a brother and sister to share and talk. By the way, there is a rule among runners: ďif you canít talk while running, you need to get in better shape.Ē During that run, I got Paul to tell me what it was like when he served in Vietnam. He may be surprised to read this and know how much those miles meant to me.

I keep in close touch with my kid brother. He dislikes the computer but is so good at calling to see how we are, to ask how Burt is doing with his bad back and how Iím doing with my vision challenge - as if our challenges even come close to Paulís battle with Chronic Lymphocytic Lymphoma diagnosed in 2008. His attitude about living with cancer is remarkably positive. He stopped teaching for awhile but missed the kids so much he simply had to return to the classroom. I know he is making a difference - and always has - in the lives of his students and all the other lives he touches. As I said before, we all pray a lot.

Today, my kid brother is turning 65, and I could not let this day go by without writing about Paul and wishing him a blessed and happy birthday. Hang in there, kid. I hope you know how much your big sister loves you.

Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her husband, Burt, their dog, Charley, and a shelter cat named Lap Sitter. Bobbie can be contacted at bobbisbeat@aol.com

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