On Dec. 11, 2003, my only brother, Terrance Richard Lewis, passed from this life into his eternal reward. We may have from time to time disagreed on the path through life, but never on the destination. I was the only one who could get away with calling him by his given name, maybe one of the few who even knew it. One would like to think that in heaven at least everyone knows him the way he wanted to be known, as just plain "Terry."
Most of what I learned growing up I was introduced to by Terry.
On those rare occasion I was in his favor he'd let me listen to radio with him. It was one of those console things, taller than me at the time. I don't remember much about what turned out to be the dying golden days of radio. Terry listened to mysteries mostly. Superman was one, but our favorite was The Inner Sanctum. My life long interest in "who done its" came from Terry.
He took me swimming when I was still in Kindergarten, rock climbing a few years later. Once in a while we'd go to the movies and got me interested in things like "The Day the Earth Stood Still," ever hear of it? He taught me the "why?" of electric wiring, and then left me his electronic maze of a room when he left home.
As I recall he also introduced me to that then new literary masterpiece "Playboy". Unfortunately I was much too young then to appreciate the esoteric significance of this contribution to the American classics. By the time I might have been more appreciative he had decided to enter ministerial studies and that was the end of his first edition Playboy collection (probably worth a fortune now).
We always teased each other about which one was smarter -- he was. I, of course, was then and am still the better looking.
One thing Terry can't be convicted of is introducing me to White Castle hamburgers. This was the great child-rearing failure of our parents. I recall they were twelve-cents the first time I was old enough to share in the traditional family Sunday afternoon feast. Our folks moaned about how they had always been ten-cents. Terry could always eat more of them than anyone. Our sister, Diane, had a limit of two. By my teenage years I worked up to my "final answer" of four at any one meal. Terry always got At Least six, and ate any leftovers. Even toward what was to be the end of his life he'd gorge himself on "sliders," usually showing up with two bags full.
We had a long standing bet that whoever died youngest had to buy the one of us who lived the longest a White Castle. As of now I have lived longer than Terry did by almost three weeks, so officially I win. Turns out it was a sucker bet -- he outsmarted me again. How am I supposed to collect? Somebody owes me a White Castle!
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.