Happy Upcoming Birthday, Cousin Lee Leatherwood

Dear Lee,

You have been my friend for as long as I can remember. You, who were born six days earlier than I, in the very same hospital and who lived less than a block away from me until we were five. At that point, we lived a whole five blocks away until we graduated from high school. Of course, we attended the same schools from K – 12 and then even the same university – UT Austin – for one year until I transferred schools. In other words, you have been a constant in my life since Day One, literally.

Happy birthday, first cousin, though you are close enough to me to be my brother.

We share lots of the same interests: writing, literature, music, and hometown memories. We hold the same values dear: truth, honesty, integrity, and a deep love of family. We also share a liberal sensibility as well as believe that volunteering our time to worthy causes is part of our civic responsibility. We both have a “Leatherwood” approach to the world, which means being involved and active citizens in our communities while maintaining a good sense of humor about life.

We share a love of barbecue and grilled salmon and good food in general.

We display the same adoration for our children, and also for our little granddaughters who are following in our footsteps since they are less than a week apart in age just like us.

We have grieved the loss of several family members, and we honor their memories through our never-ending love of them.

We are opposites, as well. You are blond, I’m brunette; you’re tall, I’m short; you love to watch sports, I hardly know which team is which; you drink and smoke, I abstain; you read incessantly, I write more than I read.

Still, we are connected at the core. We know each other better than most other people in the world. Our love is like a river, it runs deep and wide.

Thank you for being in my life. Your presence brings me great comfort. I hope to have you around until we’re hobbling around with our canes and great-grandchildren snuggle with us in our rocking chairs.

I love you very much.

Len

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