Last year, I edited and co-wrote a book with my brother–the Patio King. He has a great sense of humor and I thought a book with his humor, awesome photos, and a few stories of my own would speak to people. Let’s just say the response has been underwhelming.
The content is just too good to let languish, so I began blogging the book over at PatioWisdom.com, and in the interest of reaching another audience I’m going to cross-blog it here as well each Tuesday. It’s not “leadership” per se, but the Patio King has a unique view of life and some poignant and even inspiring thoughts–with a little quirky humor thrown in for good measure. So, without further adieu…
This blog is about life’s lessons and humor…seen through my own and my brother’s eyes. Tony, aka Patio King, and I grew up together, albeit 4 1/2 years apart, and standing us side by side you’d be forgiven if you didn’t realize we are brothers.
He’s tattooed and leather clad…I’m aloha shirts and khakis. He’s pony tails and blue-collar work…I’m military crew cut and Air Force officer.
But despite the outward differences, we have many of the same values. We also share a deep affection for faith, for family, and for Texas.
What I hope to share in these pages is Tony’s wisdom, born of a hard-working life, and a little of my own life lessons as well. All with a hardy dash of humor and a lack of taking ourselves seriously! After all, if we can’t laugh at ourselves, and our circumstances, when things are rough, then we’ll never have the fortitude to smile when things are good.
My brother has always been a free spirit, and throughout his life Tony has simply charted his own course. He has our family’s notorious stubborn streak, as well as a very creative mind and sharp intellect to go with it. Some might see the sometimes leather and tattoo-clad exterior and underestimate Tony. That would be a mistake.
My brother is a big-hearted and talented man. He’s worked hard his entire life, often at multiple jobs in order to make a living. We served together in the Air Force for four years, although in different units. During the time I was learning my craft as a junior officer in Idaho, he was repairing Air Force vehicles during the week and riding motorcycles around Europe when he was off duty. Tony completed his service in Germany, mustering out with the rank of Sergeant. A man talented at working with his hands, he’s been (in no particular order): a car mechanic, a paint/body mechanic, a bartender, a plumber, an oil field worker, a custom motorcycle assembler, a motorcycle mechanic, a custom green house assembler, and a line cook in a food truck. He’s traveled all over Europe and America, mostly by motorcycle, and had some amazing experiences. In another age, he might have ridden with Jack Kerouac.
We grew up in 1970s Fort Worth, Texas, as part of a working class family. Dad was a draftsman at General Dynamics and Mom was a teacher at our neighborhood Catholic school. We went to the same school, so Mom had both of us as students for the sixth grade. Tony inherited Dad’s love of all things “car” as well as his artistic talent. He also inherited Mom’s capacity to dream big and love deeply. The world we grew up in was much simpler than it is today. It was a place where young people went outside and did things: a universe we explored on our bikes and later in our cars. We explored together a lot, and then as I grew older I left him behind more than I should have. Looking back now I wish I’d brought him along a lot more.
Somewhere along the line, Tony picked up the nickname “Patio King”—from a party, I believe. To this day, whenever I hear that nickname I immediately picture my brother on the back porch with a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon in his hand, surrounded by friends and telling stories.
Tony might offer an explanation for his wanderlust or maybe none at all because it’s none of your business, but he’s my younger brother so that gives me some license to try to explain. I believe his passion comes from a zest for life. Tony has always wanted to immerse himself in life—in short, to live fully and completely. He’s always been curious about how things work, which led to a lot of machines ending up in pieces in our garage as we were growing up. What’s more, he’s been brave enough to try and figure it out on his own. He’s certainly lived and loved at full throttle. The number of people that call him “friend” is testament to that courage and passion.
The words in this book are Tony’s thoughts, quips, and photos over many years, with a couple of my stories thrown in for good measure. I have to say that I’m glad you’re my brother, Patio King.