You'll excuse me if I get a little personal for a minute but I want to celebrate the life of my big brother, Tom, who would have turned 65 today. Many of you who are my age or younger may not know that I had an older brother. Tom was 13 years older and he left for college the same year that I started in the first grade. I always considered him an extra father rather than a brother because he took care of me and spoiled me rather than competing with me or tormenting me the way older brother sometimes can. He was far too young to die and all of us miss him terribly every day but I'm pretty sure he would have preferred that I tell a joke or relate a good story rather than sound sad today. My mother always says that Tom "wanted to be a Hedspeth but was really a Spivey" which is the highest praise she can give since it's her family that is the Spivey side. What being a Spivey means is that Tom inherited the best of my mother's family which included being kind, extremely thoughtful, generous and also really fond of a good joke. He was a real "family man" in the best sense of that term. Tom was a devoted son and brother, a loving husband and father, and a loyal friend to many. During his illness, there was a long list of friends and family who called to check on him and who still call his wife, my mother, and me to see how we're doing. I know his friends do this because Tom would have done the same for their families if the positions were reversed. I don't want to overlook the Hedspeth side of Tom either. For those of you who knew my father or who know me, the Hedspeth part is the one who could "talk the hind legs off a billy goat." Hedspeths enjoy nothing better than running their mouth (hopefully in a good way).
Anyway . . . I just wanted to talk about Tom for a few minutes here and to share my favorite photo of us together. Needless to say there are hundreds of photos of the two of us but I really love this one. It must have been my second Christmas and, as always, Tom was there to steady me and love me.