When mother announced you were coming, I knew she was crazy-bonkers-looney. Look at it from my perspective. What in the world did I need with another brother? I already had four dribbling siblings to put up with.
Another brother?
Now, I’d never get that
Pendleton shirt I wanted or a
balsa monolith.
No surfing board for me.
Another brother.
Why Tracy, the youngest of the Jones boys, was
already in kindergarten.
Mother was infant-free at last.
Why start all over again with babies?
You came anyway,
despite my cogent, lucid, and
insightful protests.
Rationality did not prevail.
The biology was already in motion.
I was 12 at the time.
A deacon.
And before long I was ordained
your babysitter,
while mother went to Dales Market
or Giacapuzzi Dairy
or Reseda II Ward Primary.
And that was way before Pampers and
I hated it—tending
toddler you.
Another brother.
What had I done to deserve such a harsh
Somehow I managed to tolerate year one of your
But year two,
that’s when I came to understand the
devastation of
atomic warfare.
Every day I’d come home from high school
to find my room
A tornado was a birthday party
compared to what you did to my very personal and
very teenage-important things.
I’m talking about you,
Intradomicile Ballistic Missile expert,
Guy Alexander Jones.
Soon life became complicated
for me
entangled with permanent relationships and
Shock—children of my own.
You were still my brother
in a statistical sense of the word.
Of course, you were at all the Jones family
functions and get-togethers.
Even went to Niagara Falls with us one year.
But you were
just another brother.
Until last winter
when you came to live with us
up in Provo town.
I remember the first day
when you, GuyBeau, came to stay.
We trekked on down to D.I. just above Provo River
and rummaged through the salvaged bedding.
The boxspring was a steal at 8 dollars
and the mattress a real D.I. bargain at 55,
But at least you had a bed of your own.
For four months you became
part of the Utah Joneses,
part of us,
living under the same asphalt shingles
sharing the same forced-air heating
watching the same fuzzy TV.
Sometimes we’d talk late into the night
about the categorical differences between
Mod and New Wave and Prep.
(You, of course, always wore topsiders with no socks.)
And sometimes we discussed
what a tremendous spiritual experience it was
taking an exam in the
Harold B. Lee Testing Center.
When you weren’t talking with us
or sleeping
or protecting Cosmo, our cat, from the kids,
you ate
a wholesome and nutritious diet of
pork’n beans and chocolate chip cookies for
and blended eggs (not fork-whipped mind you) but
blended eggs for breakfast and …
Malts for lunch and
malts for any time in between and
malts for when Connie’s letters didn’t come and
malts for those times the Harold B. Lee Testing
Center wasn’t a spiritual experience.
Justin and Nathan and Kristen loved having you
You were the greatest Big Kid ever
to come play at our house.
You did legos and tinkertoys,
colored Easter eggs and showed the boys
how to play soccer.
You subbed for me when I was tied up
making ends meet and
meeting the ends of professorial demands.
And every Monday you took more than your
part in our FHEs.
April 23 Winter Semester ended.
You had to go home to make money for a mission.
We watched from the big glass window
in the converted garage as you pulled away to go
back to California.
By April 24th I knew something was wrong.
Luella noticed it too.
Our family was somehow smaller
less whole
in your absence.
That’s when I knew you would no longer be
just another brother.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Richard Hull