Mack and Murray were two aging brothers who hadn’t spoken to one another in over twenty years. Even though they lived in the same town, each vowed not to speak until the other apologized first. Friends who knew them said their next meeting would be at the grave of the first to die.
Born of immigrant parents, they came from a long line of quarreling Scotsmen who held grudges. The customs of the Old Country lived on in both men.
One Sunday at church, Mack listened intently to the minister’s sermon about loving your brother. It struck a chord, reminding him of the lack of brotherly love in his own family.
That night, unable to sleep, he thought about Murray and how they were both getting old and should stop this foolishness. He wanted to renew their relationship. A widower with no children, Murray was the only family Mack had left.
The next morning while shaving, he looked at himself closely in the mirror. Oh, he knew about his balding pate and gray hair. And he recognized the wrinkled lines in his face and the paunch of his belly. But they weren’t what concerned Mack. It was something more basic and more important.
Mack’s concern was his inner self. It was his outlook and his demeanor. It was his heart and soul. And looking in the mirror he could tell that he wasn’t happy or at peace with himself. Things needed to change.
Picking up the phone, he called his brother. It was answered by a pleasant young woman. Mack knew this must be his niece, Cindy, who he hadn’t seen since she was a baby. She told him Murray wasn’t home but took a message.
Before signing off, Cindy surprised him, saying, “So you’re Uncle Mack. I’ve always wanted to get to know you. I hope to see you soon.”
Mack’s outlook brightened with those words. Maybe there was hope for this brotherly love thing after all.
Several days later the doorbell rang. Mack was startled to find a beautiful young woman in her early twenties. It was Cindy. What a surprise.
“Uncle Mack, I hope you don’t mind me dropping in unannounced but I wanted to meet you,” she said with a friendly smile. “I want to try to get you and Dad together. I told him about your call but he just shrugged it off. He’s like that; he’s stubborn.”
Mack laughed, responding, “That’s because he and I are both alike. Scotsmen don’t change easily. That’s part of our problem.”
Mack enjoyed Cindy’s visit. He told her about himself and enjoyed hearing about his only living relatives. She told him she would try to arrange a family gathering. She knew they needed each other.
The following week on Saturday afternoon the phone rang. Mack was watching football and wanted to ignore it but something told him to answer.
“Hello, this is Mack, may I help you,” he said.
“Hi Mack, it’s Murray”, was the reply. “Cindy said I should call so here I am. How are you?”
“I’m pretty good for an old goat,” he chuckled as he spoke. “But then again, you know what that’s like. You’re an old goat yourself.”
Murray and Mack both roared and the ice was broken. Murray invited Mack for dinner. Cindy was going away soon and the family was having a going away party. Mack even had tears when Murray said he wanted him to meet the rest of the family.
The following week, Mack put on a sport coat and tie for the first time in years, stopped to pick up a bottle of wine, and headed over to Murray’s for dinner. They had a wonderful evening, and the two men even made a date to go to the local college football game the following weekend. They were both rabid football fans.
As Mack said his thanks and goodbyes to everyone, he turned to Murray with a tear in his eye and said, “You know, we wasted a lot of time, didn’t we? And you never even got to know my Martha and I let your kids grow up without knowing their uncle. Pretty silly on both of our parts, wasn’t it?”
Murray patted him on the back and said, “That’s true, Mack, so let’s make up for it with the time we have left. What do you say?”
Mack hugged him and said, “Amen to that, brother, amen.”
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