A to Z Challenge: Xander, Yancy and Zeke

Character sketches that are fictional, but based on real people like you and me.

They were born two years apart, giving a hierarchy of sorts but also giving them enough in common to make good playmates out of them. It would be wrong to say that there was no competition between them, but as brothers go, they were more inclined to stick up for each other and get along. They grew up on a farm in Wisconsin, which as it turned out, was a pretty good place to grow up.

Xander was the oldest. On his own for his first two years, he may have acquired more of an independent spirit. Also being the first son, he got to do many things first, before the others. Sometimes this was a privilege, but other times it felt more like a restriction. When you are the first to be taught to drive a tractor it is pretty heady stuff, until you have to drive that tractor making hay while others are playing. As a child, Xander was an endless well of grandiose ideas. His aspiration at the age of eight was to ride his bike down the road with three ice cream cones in each hand. That took imagination.

Yancy and Zeke were sometimes thought to be twins. They shared a spot in the family behind their older brother and spent a lot of time together. Zeke grew faster than Yancy, and almost surpassed him in size. They both had sandy brown crew cuts, which would bleach out to near blonde in the summer. The sandy part was not just descriptive of color. One of their favorite pastimes was playing in the soft sand of the driveway, throwing it up in the air and letting it fall on their heads. The layer of sand on their scalps was thick enough for Mom to scratch off at bath time.

All three boys were often dressed alike since it was easiest to buy, or make, the same shirt in three sizes. Getting them dressed up for church was always like a circus act. One would get finished up, but before the second one was half done, the first one would spill something on his pants or decide to take shoes off. Given enough time, the miracle would occur and all three would make it into the car mostly dressed.

These three young boys were a force in the neighborhood, and at school for years. Bike riders, lawn mowers, basketball players, and friends to young and old. But as they developed their unique interests, their paths were tending to take very different directions. What would they do to maintain their sense of family closeness and their unity as brothers? Would it take something intentional, and what would that something be?

Four Brothers

Truly, a most random post, but I warned there would be some… Mom actually suggested it and I am glad to comply.


A picture of her four brothers, singing together. John, Ervin, Don, and Wendell

And next,

A picture of my four brothers (her sons), singing together. Ron, Gary, Bob, and Dennis

Just kind of fun that we have this singing thing going on from one generation to the next.

What interesting characteristics do you see in your family photos that you might not notice any other way?