Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday Friend or Family Feature...

Today's Feature is:
My brother Bubs!

My brother's name is Robert Nicholas Jr., but everyone calls him Bubba.


Here is his first picture...

Kind of Bubba-like don't you think?

Luckily he blossomed into an absolutely adorable child.
The nickname, however, remained. He also goes by Corbs, Bubs, Bubbarama, and my personal favorite, Rama. He also uses Rama as a verb, and sometimes even as an adjective.

My brother is like my father in many ways. He is very enamored of Wisconsin's Northwoods area. I guarantee that if you walk into any bar or restaurant up there, and mention that you are a "F.O.B", (or friend of Bubba), you will immediately receive a warm welcome and, most likely, a free drink. (Be careful that you don't use the acronym "F.I.B." by mistake, that means something entirely different up there. It is a derogatory term used by locals to describe people from Illinois who "summer" or "weekend" in the Northwoods).

My brother, like my father, is gregarious, generous, and has the gift of gab. I remember a time recently when we took the boat to a bar on the lake for lunch. Another boat pulled up with four elderly men in it. One of them was connected to an oxygen tank. As this man stumbled a bit while trying to get out of the boat and onto the pier, Bubs said something like,"You think it is difficult now, just wait until after your lunch." In one moment Bubs made a struggling, embarrassed man feel completely at ease. The man broke into a big wide grin and laughed heartily. He suddenly had gained the confidence to trust the sturdiness of the pier beneath him. If you ask my brother about this, I am sure he won't remember. He engages almost every stranger in this way.

My brother loves the Blues Brothers and Animal House. It is rumored that he was the real life inspiration for this character...

In a move that would make Ferris Bueller himself weep with pride, my brother did something that caused his high school to implement a rule that they never imagined they would need. It was getting close to spring break and Bubs really wanted to go to Florida to celebrate. My parents were not too keen on funding this kind of debauchery. Bubs decided to start a, "SEND BUBBA TO DAYTONA," fund raising campaign in the halls of his school. I think he had a sign and some sort of collection bucket around his neck. He raised the money and went to Florida for spring break. The no pan-handling rule still stands at Loyola Academy. It seems that Jesuits were all for fund raising, just not in this case.

In addition to being resourceful, my brother is what I would refer to as an "idea man." He always has new plans and ideas for his future. He is a risk taker. He takes the bull by the horns. He already has a very successful business and is always looking for ways to expand it. He also likes to help others clarify and strive for their goals. He is always willing to lend a helping hand to help his friends and family members reach their full potential.

It couldn't have been easy for my brother growing up in my family. He was the only boy, and the middle child. He was also social, as opposed to studious. He was rebellious like any adolescent. When I think about it now, I wish that I had been nicer to Bubba when we were kids. I don't think I gave him enough love and support.

Here is another picture of my brother Bubba...

Doesn't it look like his face might explode with joy and pride? Why does he look this way? Look at whom he is about to marry...

That's Mary, my babe of a sister-in-law. She is beautiful inside and out.

Oh, it gets better.

Look at what happens next...

These are their girls. Darling don't you think?

How will my adoption impact my brother?

My brother is an excellent father and will be a wonderful uncle. I plan on asking him for a lot of advice. Right now he is navigating the choppy waters of toddler parenting. Betsy is 4, and Abby is 3. They are what we like to refer to as, "Irish Twins." Bubs and Mary have been through a lot. They have learned about acid reflux, sibling rivalry, and the dreaded potty training. My brother spent Christmas Eve here. Betsy had swallowed a quarter and had to have a scary x-ray. My brother was right there with her, holding her hand (even though they only had one protective apron). Luckily my dad got a phone call from Betsy recently. She said,"Papa my quarter is gone!" Everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief.

I am so very proud of my little brother and the life that he has made for himself.

My brother and I share a love for this man...

Two years ago Steven took me to see Van Morrison at the Hollywood Bowl. When I was at the concert I tried unsuccessfully to call Bubs and let him listen live along with me. It didn't work on my stupid phone. The next day I called him and told him he had to find a way to see this concert in Chicago the next day. I went on and on about it, and told him about my failed phone call. The next evening I got a call that I would have saved forever if my phone would have let me. It was "Brown Eyed Girl" live from Chicago. It was a great moment.

Play this..

Bubs, the Celtic New Year is sometime in October. Let's make sure we see each other before then okay?


  1. Hey Jules, Re: little nieces: I didn't know there were three of them. The one in the middle looks sort of funny...

  2. Yep, he's pretty cool that Bubbarama.

  3. I LOVE Van Morrison and go see him with my dad every time he comes to Boston. Now I love Bubba too.