Brotherly Joy Just a Phone Call Away


My brother and I

If a picture could have a title, I’d call this one Brotherly Joy. I’m the younger boy in the picture. The older boy is my brother Terry who turned sixty in June. My brother and I don’t get to see one another much anymore. I fly back to my home town once a year and we send birthday cards and holiday cards in between those visits. But we stay connected by the telephone. We always call on each other’s birthday, the major holidays, and when one of us feels it has been too long since the last call.

Phone calls

I enjoy those phone calls. There’s an update on how our spouses are doing, a status report on our children, and in his case, the latest on his two grandchildren. We also talk about cars, our lawns, household projects, our jobs, a neighbor or family friend who had recently passed away, professional sports, my golf game, his horse shoe pitching tournament, our sister and her family, our dad, our hometown, and which Mass we attended on that particular weekend.

Happy Trails, Terry & Steve Newvine, Photo: Newvine Family Collection
Happy Trails, Terry & Steve Newvine, Photo: Newvine Family Collection

The calls go on for about thirty to forty-five minutes. We end with a guess as to the next time I’ll be back east to visit. We say goodbye. I then tell my wife what we talked about and I suspect my brother does the same thing with his wife. The gift of our phone calls is one I cherish the most. My brother and I don’t exchange emails, and the cards we send at birthdays and on holidays include signing our names with maybe a line or two about the weather. But on the phone, we open up and have a great conversation.

I light up when I see his number on my caller ID. My moving to California a decade ago put three-thousand miles in physical distance between my brother and me. But the phone calls have, in my opinion, brought us closer together.

Steve Newvine lives in Merced