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Dear Brendan,

First off, Happy Birthday. Seems I never get to be with you on your big day, so I hope Karen is there and will give you a big hug for me. 23 years ago you blessed our life by arriving quietly, with a scrambling of the nursing staff and no congratulations from the Doctor. You were an eight week preemie, establishing early on that you would be your own person, and so it has been. A couple of weeks in the hospital and then sprung onto an unaware world. I have never seen a happier more care-free kid.

I hope you had a good childhood, and I hope you are having a good adulthood. Live it up and enjoy, because all too often the crushing obligations of 'living' will rear its head and put you on your backside. When that happens get back up, face those obligations squarely and deal with them like the man you are. I am proud of your service to our country and heartsick that you have wounds that still won't heal. I am proud of your sense of adventure, of your predilection for doing it your way and taking a path in life I was too timid to take. Furthermore, I am proud for who you are: courageous, loyal, with an almost Arthurian sense of gallantry. So, as is my prerogative here are some hints for stress-free living:

1. Email your father more often, he would appreciate it

2. Save as much money as you can now and keep saving it throughout your life

3. Brush your teeth three times a day

4. Learn to appreciate old black and white movies

5. Relationships thrive on the little things; think of little things every day to make someone happy

6. Come up with a hobby, or several: when the world no longer has use for your skills, you'll always have something to do

7. Read books

8. Take lots of pictures, they will comfort you in old age

9. Savor friendships, they are so hard to find

10. Keep in shape, it's the best way to stay out of doctor's offices and pharmacies

Come back soon and see us, we love you, we miss you, and wish you the gift of health, wealth and love.

Happy Birthday,


PS I sure enjoyed your two visits to BFE.

PSS I love you.

Father and Son painted in 1990


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