This post is about my brother Garry.
You will need some context for this story.
We come from a family of twelve, fourteen counting my mother and father. I am the second youngest, and I have a younger brother who lives in the States. Then there are three older sisters (sadly, one is no longer with us, and we all miss her a lot) and then my brother Garry.
We all grew up as a great big family of fun in a housing scheme in Glasgow – Drumchapel; made famous by Billy Connolly and James McAvoy. Famous sons of the Drum.
Garry is the comedian in the family. He didn’t enjoy school so much, and although he is clearly smart as a whip, he left and went on his own path in life. If he was at school now and he was readying to be leaving, he would fully engage in the world of entrepreneurism.
He has precisely that character default.
In fact, that is what he did almost forty-five years ago. The stories he can tell of the things he did back then to earn a crust are hilarious. One of the finest is when he and my brother-in-law chipped in and bought a machine to trim off the bottom parts of doors for the new fad of shag pile carpets.
Doors would drag on the carpets because the new carpets were so high, so they all needed a bit cut off. They marketed this to the newly rich and bustled about the posher areas of Glasgow.
All I can say is that the first couple of jobs didn’t go to plan and some draft excluders had to be bought, and a few ‘runners’ (as in escape quickly) were a must to escape the loss of having to purchase a new door or three.
Anyway, the reason for telling you this is to let you know Garry is a man’s man. I know this is not the best phrase in this day and age, but it is what describes him the best. He likes to get out and about and get involved, and he is also a dedicated family man, so his opus memoranda are about making some money to provide for the family.
He recently turned sixty-five, which is a magnificent milestone, and this is where it gets interesting.
For his birthday celebration, my sister bought him an absolute brilliant birthday present which brought a tear to everyone’s eye.
She bought him a book of poems. This book was not just any book of poems; this was a book of his own poems. My sister had pulled them from his Facebook page.
You see, Garry, the man’s man, had started to drop onto his Facebook feed a poem every now and again. He did not make any grand announcement about this. He just started doing it. Writing his poetry, his little ditties as he calls them, and dropping them onto his Facebook for all to see. He would write on his lunch break or when he was waiting for someone or something.
Everyone he knows is on his Facebook. This is a big deal because he moves in the Glasgow circles where poetry is the last thing anyone is expected to share.
But he shared, and he kept on sharing. He just didn’t care any longer what people thought. he had reached that point… the point where you say f*ck it, I am just going to do it.
The thing is, people enjoyed them. His personality and willingness to help anyone had given him the permissions to share, and everyone was supportive. More so the men’s men.
Some of what he writes are just outstanding. Some capture the feeling of the times, and some are so personal and heartwarming because the characters he captures are personally known to me.
I tip my hat to my brother Garry, the man’s man.
I am so proud of everything he does, and I am so delighted that the book made the man’s man cry.
It is never too late to shed a tear or to create something for others to enjoy.
Just go for it. Step up!
“They said back in March
They told us time after time
We don’t need a mask, don’t wear a mask
Everything’s just fine.
They say we are in this together.
We are all in the same boat
But some are clinging to the life raft
Struggling to stay afloat.
They say we are better together.
For the life of me I just can’t see
When people are clinging to life
And others have been swept out to sea.
They say it will soon be over
At the end of the tunnel there is light
Just put your faith in science
And hope to God it’s right.
They tell us the future could be better
A new normal we could build
And they offer their sincerest apologies
For the tens of thousands they’ve killed
But they say they are suppressing the virus
Just keep doing what the experts said
Or you could end up just a number
Like one of the thousands that are dead.”
“I’m down on my luck, I’m really down
I’m sleeping in the worst parts of town.
That cold winter rain soaks me right through
And that cold, bitter wind freezes me blue.
I live like an animal, I feel so small
I’ve no basic amenities, I’ve nothing at all.
I know I need help, but where do I go
Where do you turn to when you are down this low.
People don’t talk, they’ve nothing to say
They look right through me or just turn away
How can you help me if you can’t see I’m here
I’ll die in the gutter one day I fear.”