Scott is my younger brother by six years and a lifelong friend. It has been interesting reviewing our family history through his eyes; sort of like viewing a familiar film, but from another angle and in an entirely new light.
When my older brother (by two years) and I were teens, we sometimes forgot that Scott was but a child. We did a lot together, but now I see how much Scott struggled to keep up. We cut Scott no slack. I give him much credit, today, for his fortitude and endurance.
One of the photos Scott recently sent me was not from childhood, but well into our adulthood. It was taken in 1987 or so, I don’t recall by whom. We were hiking together at Surry Mountain Dam in southwestern New Hampshire.
This has become one of my favorite photographs, and I was moved to learn that my brother keeps it as an icon on his computer. The photo is a bit blurred because it is enlarged from that icon.
As a boy, my little brother (THAT certainly changed!) had two impatient teenagers for older brothers. I don’t know how many times I, as an impetuous 15 yr. old, told my little brother to Take a hike! Now my most treasured photograph is of the two of us doing just that.
Growing up, Scott refused to be left behind. My older brother and I were blind to the strength of Scott’s relentless tenacity. He may have struggled to keep up with our mountain climbing skills, but I now see that we lagged far behind him in determination and sheer strength of will.
In March of 1970 the three MacRae brothers climbed New Hampshire’s Mount Chocorua during a treacherous Nor’easter that dumped two feet of snow on the trails. We climbed through drifts higher than our little brother’s head.
It was risky and foolish we know that today, but we somehow endured a night at the top and the climb down in almost zero visibility with trails obliterated by snow the next day. It was an immense challenge for us at ages 16 and 18, but it was near impossible for our 11 year old brother. But climb he did, and he did it without complaint.
Forgive us, Scott, for not seeing that you have always been the better man. If we are judged by the company we keep, then I want this photo of Scott and me taking a hike to be my enduring image. I am proud of my brother. I have never been in better company.
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