Following is an excerpt from my book, Reconcilation, A Son’s Story. Without my brother Dan helping me to remember, writing this story would not be possible.
“Speaking of Danny, I must describe this character, who is my loving brother and best friend in the whole world besides my wife Judy. As much as I love my brother, he pisses me off most of the time. He believes he is the smartest guy in the room most of the time if not all of the time. Danny is an instructional sort of guy. You name the topic and he knows more about it than anyone else in the world. There is no one person, absolutely no one who can compete with his knowledge about all things and everything. Danny is about 6 ft tall, and a skinny dude. Looks pretty healthy and has the same weight now that he had when he was 18 or so, 165 lbs. I used to weigh 165-170 lbs during my teens and life in the Navy, but it didn’t take long before weight started to become a challenge. Danny on the other hand does everything he possibly can to gain weight to no avail. This alone is enough to piss me off and most other people as well. Bro Danny looks like Ted Turner, CNN founder, with his stash, but with more hair. Having more hair is another reason to be pissed off at Danny. Everyone else in their 60’s is getting fat, ugly, and losing their hair, but Danny has somehow been passed up. Guess it is the Lakato Indian blood lines that help him more than the rest of us. Our great grandmother Sparks from North Dakota was half Lakato, making us 1/16 following the ancestry tree.
Danny is a highly successful business man from Reno, Nv. He has owned a very popular Chevron full service operation for 25 years, and has done really well with the business. Of course, at times it has been a challenge, but for the most part Danny has made it big with hard work, smarts and passion. Danny and I are the only two siblings who completed college as well. He’s a tough guy too. Even now at age 64 he thinks he can kick everybody’s ass easily with his “Chuck Norris” training of long ago. Even when we were kids he could kick everybody’s ass except me. I think he just scared the shit out of his peers on the street and at the beach. I know he protected me all the time, and I owe my life to him. Fortunately, Danny can’t kick anybody’s ass anymore these days, and I have to remind him of it all the time.
Danny has been married to Marcia for 43 years this month. They have three children, Jeremy, Branden, and Adria. I love his kids and remain close to them after all these years. Our summer 2011 road trip included visiting with all of them at different times. Adria just became engaged to a wonderful French guy named Jonathan, who really has the smarts, good looks and passion to do well in life, including being a good romantic as in French. I am very close to my brother’s family. Although I love his wife Marcia, and have known her since she was 15, I don’t think she has ever liked me all that much, but I know she loves me. The kids call me “Uncle Stevie.” This is my brand, the one and the only Uncle Stevie, their favorite uncle to be sure.
Danny is still in some denial about PTSD. He clearly demonstrates certain symptoms, but not nearly all nor the same as me. My research so far has been helpful to him and he supports my work 100%. Danny is a huge contributor to this story since his memory serves him well and provides me with the editing and accuracy so critical to writing a successful non-fiction story. Danny hugged me for at least 2 minutes when we left Reno this time and it made me feel emotional. The closeness we feel toward each other as brothers is treasured.