Thursday, June 29, 2006

A giant among rabbits

You may be surprised to learn that I was an obnoxious teenager. It's true. At thirteen I organized a group of friends to "perform" Weird Al Yankovic's "Girls Just Want to Have Lunch," followed by a rousing rendition of "Fat" for a ward talent show. Our "performance" (I use that term loosely. We were on a stage, but there was no talent involved.) consisted of screaming, flying food, pillow-stuffed clothing, and general mayhem. To add insult to artistic injury, I declared that the ward members who'd found the skit to be in poor taste were simply lacking a sense of humor. Surely there could be nothing wrong with my own sense of true comedy!

So, yeah. That was me at 13. Not exactly the kind of kid you want tagging along with your friends to the movies, huh? But that's where my brother Harvey* defies expectation. I remember the summer before his mission as full of outings with Harvey and his friends--picnics, parties, movies. Probably the most remarkable part of my tagging along was that I didn't realize I was a tagalong. I assumed everyone thought I was as cool as Harvey made me feel.

Fast forward a few years. I'm a freshman in college. I am, perhaps, more obnoxious than I was at 13. I wear the black and orange "bridesmaid" jumper Harvey had his friend make for me (the one Dad said he "wouldn't mind if I stopped wearing") as often as I can. I ride a big wheel around the housing complex. I talk a little too loud. But Harvey still welcomes me into his circle, which now includes his lovely wife, Pooka, and their hardworking baby, LaundryMan. We have many delicious and festive family dinners in their bright blue living room.

I take in more than food in that room. I watch Harvey, the first of my siblings to marry, forge a new family. I see his kind and gentle ways with Pooka and LaundryMan (and later Peter the High King). Although his coursework is demanding, he never lets it overshadow his commitment to being a husband and father.

Fast forward another decade. Harvey's family grows (and grows), but his commitment does not wane. LaundryMan and Peter the High King are followed by an entourage of equally brilliant siblings. I see them each display kindness, generosity, humor--learned, no doubt, from from a dad (and mom) who's had a lot of practice.

Of course, there's lots more to Harvey. Anyone who's met him knows he's smart. Scary smart. Freaky smart. Don't make the mistake of wondering aloud how something works, because he probably knows. Playing Balderdash with him is likely to be a mistake too. And while I'm issuing warnings, I should tell you that you shouldn't challenge him to a Russian dancing contest either. But if you want to learn something while you hang out with the cool kids, Harvey's the one to call. Cause he's got that down.

I love you, Harvey! Happy birthday!

*Names have been changed.


dani said...

Let me just add my Birthday Wishes to yours Boss! I agree Harvey is ONE of the Coolest people I know! Happy Birthday Harvey! :) Can't wait to see you all next month!

Taffy said...

Boss, I love your birthday tributes. Thanks for helping all us birthday forgetters to remember those special days. Plus, Happy birthday to Harvey!

Peanut said...

Boss, you write some good tributes--Thanks. Cuz they say everything just right. Ditto everything she said. Happy Birthday Harvey!

Ree said...

It's all true. From the freaky electric blue living room to the freaky smart part. Harvey is a great person and phenomenal family man. You and your family make us all proud. Happy birthday, Harvey!

John said...

Happy Birthday Matthew! It was fun to be able to spend your birthday with you and your family! ...and many more!

B said...

And he plays a mean game of nuclear war, too! Happy Birthday Harvey! here's to good times remembered and great times to come!

Plus, Boss, your B-day tributes rock!

Tarimisu said...

I really, really do try to limit my intrusion into the family stuff. Maybe it's because I so wish I WAS a Frogmorton that I allow myself! Anyway, I love this post so much. All your birthday tributes are amazing (maybe another reason I wish I was Frogmorton). I remember when Harvey got married, Sonnet showing me the beautiful pictures. And Boss telling me all about the beautiful reception and her beautiful new sister-in-law. And I remember when Laudryman was born, and Sonnet telling me about it (because I think, wasn't he born on Sonnet's birthday? And Sonnet's and my birthdays are very close to one another). I remember seeing Laundryman when he was a chubby and adorable baby (as the Harvey family visited Arkansas) and watching his parents with him and with each other. And the last time I saw them all was at the wedding reception of Coach and Boss, and there were a few more added to their numbers, and they were all as beautiful and gracious as ever. I guess I should make a point here - I think the world of all the Frogmortons and have only the best memories from every encounter with any of them. I have learned so much about kindness and family and graciousness and love from them all. So, sorry to write a book here, especially not being a member of the family, but happy birthday, Harvey! What a special birthday blessing to be counted among the Frogmortons.

Sue said...

It's true; Harvey is amazing. I am awe-struck at the wonderful family he and Pooka are rearing up in truth. Thanks for your wonderful example.

Also, thanks for teaching us about parasitic worms, etc.


I am also very proud to call Harvey my brother. Happy Birthday!

Harvey said...

Thank you Diana, and thank the rest of all y'alls too.

Anyone else want to learn about parasitic worms?