Wednesday, March 14, 2007

One Of The Very Best Weekends Of The Year

My middle brother is going to come home this weekend, and I am very excited.

He is going to come home tomorrow, and he is going to come home in order to watch this weekend's NCAA tournament games with us.

It was a last-minute decision on his part--he did not say anything to anyone until this morning, when he called my mother to let her know he was coming--and we are all exceedingly pleased.

It will be wonderful, watching the first weekend of tournament games together. It will be just like old times. When we were kids, all three of us boys would watch the games with our father, and we loved it. The first weekend of the tournament was always one of the very best weekends of the year, or so we always thought, and we will get to experience that again this year. I only wish that my older brother could come and watch the games with us, too.

My brother will stay at our parents' house, of course, and not with Josh and me, but Josh and I will go over to my parents' house on Thursday evening and again on Friday evening after work, and we will spend all day Saturday and all day Sunday over at my parents' house, too.

My mother will retrieve my brother at the airport tomorrow at mid-day, and he will already be home, watching games, several hours before my Dad will get home from work and several hours before Josh and I can make it over after work.

I know that my mother will take exceptionally good care of him tomorrow afternoon, while he is in her exclusive care. I also know that we will all have homemade butter noodles tomorrow night for dinner, one of my brother's very favorite foods, because my mother always makes the noodles for him the first night he is home. Whether my mother will serve the noodles with chicken or beef or ham or something else I do not know, but I do know that the noodles will definitely be on tomorrow night's dinner menu.

And my Dad and my brother and Josh and I will not be the only ones who will enjoy an entire weekend devoted to NCAA tournament basketball.

While my mother has no inherent interest in basketball per se, she always experiences her own excitement when we are watching games because she sees how much fun we are having, and it makes things fun for her, too.

My parents' kitchen is extremely large, and it serves, veritably, as kitchen, dining room and family room. The cooking area is at one end, with all sorts of counters and cabinets and utensils for preparing meals. At the opposite end is a television, with two small sofas and three rocking chairs clustered around the set. In between is a large dining table, three bookcases, a desk with my parents' computer, a day bed (the sole piece of furniture in my mother's house on which the dog is permitted to sit) and a sound system.

Everything my parents need is in the kitchen, and it would not be inaccurate to say that my parents almost live in their kitchen. One side of the kitchen is almost all windows, looking out upon the deck and the back yard, and it is a very bright and very welcoming and very beautiful room.

While we will be watching games, my mother will sit with us, half paying attention to the action and half reading or doing crossword puzzles. Part of the time, she will be over in the cooking area, but she can talk to us and we can talk to her from across the room, and generally one of us will join her over in the cooking area and provide company and assistance while she works.

When the games get boring--and lulls invariably happen once or twice each day during the tournament--we will stop devoting our full attention to basketball. Then, we will talk, or go outside and play with the dog, or help my mother, or play scrabble, or play canasta, until a particular game heats up and starts to attract our attention once again.

It will be a great weekend, and everyone will have a swell time--my mother not least of all.

I am so happy to see my brother come home for this weekend. This weekend means a great deal to him--it is one of his favorite weekends of the entire year, too--and I am delighted that he will be spending it with us. I worry about him, living in Denver, all by himself. Although Denver is only two hours away by air, it is too far away for him to come home every weekend (although that would be nice).

I think he should move back to Minneapolis, and I keep telling him this.

I am working on him.

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