A brother, like no other

Meis-McAnally family, (minus Dad, who was taking the picture) 1965

The Meis-McAnally family, (minus Dad, who was taking the picture) Easter 1965-Steve is the tall guy in the back. I’m the littlest girl in front. Jamie is in the red jacket.

My brother Steve, died a few weeks ago from cancer. He was diagnosed one week and died the next. I prayed, as many of us did, that God would spare his life, but I added a little footnote; if God had to take him, please make it quick.

I’ve learned that God has his own plans for us, and all we can do is appreciate the time we have. I have so many wonderful memories of my brother, he will always be with us.

Steve, who leaves behind his wife, Mary, 3 sons, and a daughter, would have been 66 on Nov. 3 this year.

He started his own a surveying business in Colorado a while back, where he has lived for past 48 years. Steve fell in love with the mountains while he was stationed at the Air Force base in Colorado Springs, and stayed after his time with them was done.

Steve was someone I looked up to my entire life, literally. At 6 foot 8 inches, he was the tallest guy I had ever known. The Air Force had to order special shoes for him; size 13, extra narrow.

I learned a lot from him, including not to trust anyone who hands you a $20 for no reason (he snatched it back, laughing his head off. Are you kidding? he told me. What did I know … I was 4), or listen to someone who dares you to do something you know you shouldn’t.

Steve saved my brother, Jamie, and I from drowning when we were little. Our family was visiting Steve in Colorado Springs and spent a few days at a little motel outside of Manitou Springs. I was a novice swimmer, being 7 and all, and Jamie, who was three years older, already had lessons.

I saw Jamie swimming in the deep end and he convinced me that he could teach me how to swim in one lesson.

“Come on! Jump in! I’ll catch you. You’ll be swimming like a pro in no time!”

I should have listened to my gut when it told me (or screamed), “No, don’t! You’ll be sorry!”

I looked around. We were the only ones there. I could have backed out, but Jamie was my hero. I didn’t want him to let him down. So I jumped in … right on top of him!

This happened 45 years ago, but I still remember how it felt as the water tried to drag me down, the struggle to hang onto my brother, the taste of the chlorinated water as I sucked it into my lungs.

I was terrified, and though I knew I was taking Jamie down with me, I couldn’t help myself. I swear I saw my entire 7 years fly by.

But then an angel appeared. Steve saw us struggling and dove in to save us. He led us to the side of the pool, me coughing, and Jamie already screaming  at me, something about trying to kill him.

If it weren’t for Steve, we might have drowned.

I don’t think Steve and I ever talked about it, but I know if I had brought it up, he wouldn’t have taken credit for it. Most likely he would have waved it away, like it was no big deal.

But it was to Jamie and I.

It’s funny how life works. If Steve hadn’t been there, Jamie and I would have most likely drowned. Maybe he was put here for us, maybe us for him. Who knows? I just know that my life is much better because Steve was in it.

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