I really appreciate all the friends I have made over the last year on this blog. We didn't all agree on everything and I will admit right now....I have been wrong about a thing or two or three or maybe a hundred...but you guys have hung with me and dang...we are almost like a family now! A family where people can love each other and still disagree. Where you feel safe to say..."I think you have lost your ever lovin' mind...but Imma love you anyways ".... (yeah...we know those aren't real words...but we don't care)!
And that truly describes my 'real family'...you see ...I have been ULTRA BLESSED...I was born the 'baby' of a family who some people call 'entertaining"....and others call..."crazy as a sprayed roach' but we are the "McCormicks". Born to Daddy Frank and Mama Bess...the most romantic love story since Loretta Lynn and "Doo"! We are brothers and sisters who have experienced some of the most wonderful and a few of the most horrible things in life. We lost our precious brother, Dewayne many years ago ..then lost Daddy Frank on Christmas Day 1987 ...not long after lost our older brother Kenneth and then...Mama Bess in 2005. The four of us left didn't see how we would go on. But we have...and as much as I hate this overused cliche.... "MAKE NOT MISTAKE".....we will keep going and we will stand by each other no matter what. Which is the perfect introduction to this:
over the top ...completely unashamed and blatant bragging about ...THE GATOR!
The Gator...aka...Dwight McCormick...needs no introduction to anyone in the panhandle of Florida. I am pretty sure that... (and GOD FORBID) ..if the good Lord decides to take the GATOR home...there will never be enough churches, chapels, funeral homes, basketball courts, gyms...whatever... to hold his family, friends and admirers. We recently had a scare with his health and my Facebook and Blog messages lit up like a billboard with people wanting to know about The Gator!
Isn't it always the case? That those who are extraordinary don't know how valued they are until there is a crisis? I told him when he had his little 'incident" (that is what the Gator calls every major event...a little 'incident')...I said "You know... Hank Williams was never really famous until he died!" He laughed as usual and said.'Well...Hank didn't have the internet and Facebook"!!
I agree...so let me introduce you to my brother...the GATOR... no....he does not pull for the Florida Gators..(we would disown him) He is a FSU Seminole inside and out. From my own recollections...the nickname "The Gator" came from him really hunting ALLIGATORS...way before all those reality shows! So there is a little fact you might not know!! I will let him fill in the details here...I still get a little squeamish hearing about his 'gator huntin' days'.
But more important...I want to tell you about my brother, Dwight. He is one of the most remarkable human beings I know. He is loyal and kind. He is funny, compassionate and extremely talented but humble. He is hilarious, witty, Godly and understanding. Not a common or likely combination.
He was the guy who called me up and said ...'you pick yourself up, shake yourself off ...and try it all over again until you get it right'...and the same guy who said...'you are my baby sister...I will love you whether you succeed or fail".
He was man enough to cry with me...to show me that being a real man doesn't mean you don't cry or hurt or need comforting...that being a real man sometimes means listening and loving you no matter what. He was the inspiration for more than a couple of songs I wrote because he didn't mind saying how he felt...not ashamed to admit that he hurt like anyone else. So he has always been accessible for those in need. The most Christ-like characteristic of all.
I will not share the name...but as some know... the Gator worked with many inmates in a county jail for years. After one of the inmate's release, he told me that he owed his very life to my brother. That he never treated him like a criminal but as someone who still had worth...that when he was down to the very last breath he wanted to take...the Gator gave him hope. It was one of many stories I would hear over the years.
I have never had a heartache in my life when the GATOR was not there to hold my hand and soothe my soul...to pray with me..to let me know that no matter what...I was loved.
People say that me and my sisters are a lot like our Mama Bess....and we all three laugh at that ...because we know...deep down.... the Gator has more of our precious mother's traits than any of us. He has the perfect combination of the grace and mercy of our mother...and the steadfastness and no nonsense of our father. He is the Gator....He is our brother and our best friend...and we could never be more proud!
Happy Birthday Brother....we love you so very much! Never stop being YOU!!!