Life Builders: Gerald Lewis

Gerald in his Elway shirt, showing us how it's done!

My Little Brother with a Big Heart

Gerald is the youngest of my three siblings. He’s my little brother but he has been bigger than me in so many different ways since about the time he graduated from Andress High School. One part of him that was always bigger than me was his heart. I can’t count the number of times that he helped me out of a bad situation.

As an example of just how caring and helpful Gerald is, I remember the time I was heading back to Houston from a trip to El Paso and Phoenix. I had stopped in Ozona for a quick ice cream at Dairy Queen when I noticed steam coming out from under the hood. Not wanting to chance the rest of the way home to over heating the engine, I decided to walk deeper into town to get a new radiator hose. When I got back to the car to change the hose, I yanked on the old one a little too aggressively and pulled the fitting completely off of the radiator, rendering it useless.

Once again I walked to the part store, but this time it was to ask them for a radiator, not just a hose. Well, apparently small town part shops don’t stock radiators. They said they could have one in three days! I went to three different places and all of them said about the same thing. I was stuck in Ozona for the weekend but I had gigs in Houston and couldn’t afford to miss them.

I got a hotel then called Gerald to see if he would help us. Ozona is over a six hour drive from Houston, but he changed his plans for the next day to help me out. He went to a junk yard in the morning to buy a radiator. Then he drove all the way to Ozona to install it for me. There was one minor problem that caused some slight concern, so he followed me all the way back to Houston to make sure I didn’t break down again somewhere else.

This is only one example of many. As I sit here looking back at my life, counting all the many times Gerald has come to my rescue, it can be a bit overwhelming. One of the craziest times that he did this was when we towed my broken down car all the way from Albuquerque to El Paso with just a tow strap.

That’s just the way Gerald is. He cares about people and does things for them when they need it. I admire that in him and actually aspire to be more like him in that way.

Fishing Trips

Sunrise in the Bayou - a favorite picture from one of the many fishing trips with Gerald. This particular trip was also the last fishing trip I ever made with our father.

I have always enjoyed fishing but never really knew the ins and outs very well. When Gerald moved down here to Houston, we started fishing together whenever there was an opportunity. As the years passed, his fishing talents far exceeded mine and he become something of an instructor for me. Most of what I know about fishing in salt water I learned from Gerald.

Our most recent trip was one of our craziest. The objective was to kayak to a sandbar where Gerald would teach me how to gig flounder. The problem was, he only had a one man kayak. The plan was that I would ride the kayak to and from the sandbar which really was only about two hundred yards away at most. The kayak sunk as we reached the sandbar, but no problem because we were there already. We gigged flounder for a few hours as it got darker and evening turned into night time. When we finished and it was time to head back, we couldn’t seem to get the kayak to float again with both of us on it.

The only choice we had was for me to swim along side of the kayak, in the dark, through the brush and weeds, hoping there were no alligators in the area. As we got closer to the shore, the bottom became more muddy. We sank deep into the mud and our progress got increasingly slower.

Ha! What a blast that was! How many people can say they have swum in the swamps in such darkness?

Yeah, Gerald and I have had a lot of adventures together like that.

Bouncing Ideas

Another thing that I appreciate so much about my brother Gerald is that he has always been an open ear for me to bounce my ideas off of. This idea bouncing is a very important part of my thought process. I work out the details for the things I am pondering by talking about them to other people. The problem is, not many people actually want to hear that kind of stuff. So Gerald has always been one of those people I could count on to let me use him that way.

Being in a career that is so idea driven, it’s easy to understate the worth of this idea bouncing. My music, my teaching, my religious ideals, my love life, there are a great many things that I have bounced off of Gerald’s ears this way and he probably doesn’t know how much of a difference he has made in my life because of it.

A Genuine Life Builder

I cannot imagine what my life would be like today if it weren’t for my little brother and his big heart. I love him dearly and grow to appreciate his contribution to my life more as we both grow older.

 

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