When I was a kid, all of my brothers were littler than me. (Kids don't say "Littler than I". Sorry.) And I was probably not the nicest big sister in the world. I remember some hair pulling, a coat that got thrown in the creek, and many repetitions of "Because Mom said I'm in charge until she gets back". Oh the joy of being the built-in baby sitter.
However, at some point those little boys started to get big, and a little warning flag went up in my head. "Hey," it said, "If you don't quit twisting their arms now, they are going to cream you in a couple of years!" Huh. So I did quit with the physical mean stuff and turned mostly to yelling.
I guess that was a good idea, because my "little" brothers have each helped me out in various ways.
When I was heavily into netmaking, there were not a lot of supplies out there. Ever try to find a netting shuttle, pre-internet, in a non-coastal area? (Okay, Lake Michigan, sure, but only native Americans are allowed to put nets in the water, other than dip nets, so there are no netting-supply stores here.)
So I got my brother S. to make me a netting shuttle (brass welding rod, pounded flat at both ends, then with a groove cut and smoothed in the flat, paddle-like part) and a series of size-graded mesh gauges.
Just recently, after reading Crazy Aunt Purl's Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair, where she talks about realizing "Hey, I work in a bank -- there are people here I can ask about financial stuff," I realized that "Hey, brother D. works in a bank -- I can ask him the things I'm wondering about this IRA I rolled over from my last job."
(And yeah, I do think it's hilarious that it took reading a knit-blogger's book for this to seep into my head. He's only worked there for lo these many years.)
I got more information in about eight emails back and forth than in two thick packets of supposed information from my old work and my credit union.
Lately my youngest brother has started making knives. (That makes two knifemakers out of three brothers. So far.)
This is the mushroom knife and sheath he made me (uhhh, and my husband, whose name he technically got) for Christmas. He has more pictures of it on his blog.
We could have used it when we went out mushrooming in October and found a lovely sulfur shelf, Laetiporus sulfureus and a what's-its-name, hen of the woods.
(And don't worry, we spent quite a few years in the now-disbanded West Michigan Mycological Society, learning to tell the good edibles from the deadly poisonous mushrooms. Neither of these has deadly look-alikes, just look-alikes that Charles McIlvaine would only have called "edible".1)
Of course, by McIlvaine criteria, a dry stick would be edible as long as you could chop it up into small enough pieces to swallow and it didn't make your throat swell shut when you put it in your mouth.
1After reading the list of fungi McIlvaine considered "edible," we have concluded that as long as it didn't produce prolonged vomiting, the appearance of those gigantic purple hairy get-them-off-me spiders, or death, McIlvaine would add them to the list. After trying them himself first, of course.