Number 14 is Number 37

We spent hours and hours and then some more hours in the rink growing up. Not because I was a figure skater, because, well, I wasn't. Only in my dreams. I had weak ankles and liked to pretend I was Dorothy Hamil, but in real life I didn't take to skates like a fish takes to water.

But my little brother did. And I remember sitting on those ice cold bleachers, my bum freezing, sipping burning hot chocolate {which I do believe today is the reason I really can't drink any hot drinks because I'm terrified that I'll burn my lips like I did with the ice rink hot chocolate.}

The moms and sisters and aunts and grandmas would sit on one section of the bleachers. And the men, not wanting ANYTHING to do with the screeching women, would stand far away. Still as proud as the females, but perhaps not quite as vocal.

My little brother could skate. No wait. Let me say that again. MY LITTLE BROTHER COULD SKATE. You simply cannot imagine how fast he was. No one could catch him. I mean, a kid from the opposing team could have a 30 foot lead on him and Lenny would catch him, and pass him and get the puck from him. Lenny was the type of hockey player that other teams noticed. We'd be away at a tournament and I'd be standing in line for that ridiculous piping hot hot chocolate, and I'd overhear someone say, "Did you see that #14 from the Sault Police team? Man can that kid skate." And being the proud sister, 5 years older, that I was, I would proudly interject "That's my brother!" And I'm so not kidding. I was out of control proud.

My little brother had courage. He was, shall we say, a bit on the skinny side back in the day, but that never EVER scared him away from going into the boards for the puck. He fought to win. He was usually so quick that he'd fly in there ahead of the big guys, and they'd come barreling behind, ready to 'check' him into the boards and he'd just "whoop, side-step them and they'd crash into the boards looking like idiots." And out Lenny would skate with the puck.

And that's when I might have gotten a little bit obnoxious ... especially if I would overhear people saying something about his size ... I'd scream something like, "Ya he might be small but WHO CAME OUT WITH THE PUCK?" And WHO GOT THE MVP of the TOURNAMENT?" Ya, that'd be Number 14.

I have to say, I was loud and proud. And comPLETELY obnoxious.

Some of our very happiest and favorite family memories come from camping in the summer and Lenny's traveling hockey team in the fall/winter/spring. {You have to remember we're from Canada and well, hockey consumes a lot of time up there.}

So today is Number 14's Number 37. Thirty-seven years old today.

{We cleaned up pretty nice, Number 14. I suppose it was your wedding day and all.}

And I'm as proud of him today as I was back then. And actually, way more so, which is kind of hard to believe.

I'm proud of the man he has become. He is a man of integrity. He is trustworthy. He is kind-hearted. He'll do anything for just about anybody. Just a couple of weeks ago he drove the moving truck for some friends of theirs, several hours away, because they needed someone to do that for them. And Lenny stepped up and helped.

He has a HUGE heart. For years he worked with high school and junior high kids. And they LOVED him. And they still do. I'm proud of the fact that he takes time for others. To build into others' lives.

I am proud of how he loves on his wife. He's crazy about her.

And he's just plain crazy. He loves to sneak up behind her and grab her bum when he thinks no-one is looking. And he steals a kiss from her constantly. He admires her and loves her and respects her. It's beautiful to watch.

And I'm proud of the dad he is to his 4 boys. He is crazy about them, too. He plays with them. He tells them he loves them. He reads to them at bedtime and tucks them in. He gives them healthy love and affection. They will grow up to be great, healthy men because their dad is modeling what a healthy man looks like.

I'm proud of how he works hard to provide for his family. He's always been a hard worker.

I think the thing I'm most proud of is that Number 14 is a man of God. He loves Jesus. And he lives that out. He wants others to see the Hope that Jesus can offer. He builds into people. Makes time for people. And when there is a crisis in their lives, you know who they call? Lenny, because they somehow have figured out that he has something that they know is missing in their own lives. He has Jesus. He has peace that doesn't make sense. He has hope that is unexplainable. He has Life.

I wish Number 14 lived closer. I really, really do.That's one of the only things I desperately wish. When we were growing up all of our relatives lived in the Southern states ... and we lived in Canada. And I remember that we swore that when we grew up we were going to live really close to each other so our kids could grow up knowing their cousins. And so I'll be honest, it is really, really hard to live so far away from Lenny. But we can't feel sorry for ourselves. We just have to be thankful for the times we do get to spend together.

Lenny, I hope your day was filled with great memories.

I hope you know how much I love you.

Happy birthday, Number 14!!!


April (Guse) Fichthorn said…
What a beautiful tribute, Alysa. You have so many reasons to be proud of your wonderful brother. What a privilege it was to get to know you, way back when you were kids :)
Ake said…
LENNY HAS FOUR BOYS?!!! I'm freaking out. I remember when he came out to Papua - he was like your cute sporty brother who came for a year and coached us in bball - not like some GROWN UP who has FOUR KIDS. Freak me out, laady!

He is awesome though, I'll give you that. And you look haaawt on his wedding day!
Mae said…
Thanks, Alysa, for this tribute to Lenn and how the Lord has worked in his life. You did a very good job of showing the man he has grown to be.

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