Today would have been my brother Barney’s 55th birthday. This picture was the last time I saw him in Cincinnati in the late 90’s. Barney was a photographer, jewelry designer and an actor and he worked other jobs as well landscaping and the restaurant business to name a few.
We were the youngest of 5 children, 4 brothers then me. (Ted, Mike, Jeremy) Barney and I were Irish twins being born 1 year and 2 days apart. We were inseparable as children, he was always having an adventure to take me on in the neighborhood.
Our family ran a rehabilitation project for wildlife and this was a family portrait (one extra friend). We had hundreds of animals in our home (thousands over the years) and on our property that we had rescued. Barney seemed to be most involved when it came to the birds of prey, owls, hawks and others.
Barney went to the Cincinnati Zoo school for gifted high school kids where he excelled working with the birds of prey. He worked alongside Steve Martin, the bird trainer for Hollywood, and eventually he moved to California for a while.
What we all loved the most about Barney was his storytelling ability. His humor was off the charts and he would leave us all in stitches with one of his stand up comedy routines that he would perform regularly at the dining room table with family and friends.
As much as Barney was a fun-loving guy he was also deeply intuitive with animals and would spend hours training birds. I think he valued being alone with his own thoughts and being able to communicate with these beautiful creatures.
Barney was forever restless and he had a passion for travel. He longed to go to Egypt to see the pyramids. He was always on a quest to find more looking for the reason for existence and wondering where did we come from. He had a zest for life that is rarely seen.
I remember the last time I spent talking to him before he left for Egypt. He was so excited to go and see the world. He once again gave me a philosophical conversation for the books. It is that conversation that I hold on to the most as it was filled with hope and true excitement. Of course the search for deeper meaning was a part of our conversation as well as talking about some of the hard times and difficulties of life. I remember laying on my kitchen table with the cord to the telephone fully extended staring at the ceiling and talking about some deep stuff. I was so happy we were having this conversation and couldn’t wait to see him someday when he returned.
Barney was forever meeting new friends wherever he went is where the party started!
I hope that during that time he felt his soul filling with some of the answers to his questions.
He traveled to many countries for 2 years. Unfortunately he never did return. He finished his time on earth in Laos.
But to me, he will always be my Irish Twin. Always in my heart.
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