Of course I was trying to illicit a smile. The middle man, stand alone 'stache and all, is my big brother Christopher. On a ship. In the Navy.
I was so utterly devastated when my brother enlisted. 7 years older than me, he was by far my closest sibling relationship when I was little. I absolutely adored him, looked up to him completely for protection, love and support. After all, he is my big brother! He left home at 18, so I was 11. I cried for an entire week. I was convinced I would never see him again (my oldest brother, 14 years older than me, had left home when I was 4 to enlist in the Navy and I only saw him a few times before the age of 18).
But I did. He sent pictures (like above). He came home after boot camp and married his sweetheart and I was there. He invited me to San Diego to visit him and my sister in law and he took me to Top Gun. He took me to Tijuana (wowzers). He taught me how to drive (well, my sister in law really did).
So it wasn't all bad news. He only stayed in for 6 years and then promptly returned home with his wife and baby girl. And he never left Missouri again (except for a short stint in Arkansas).
I miss the days of being young with my big brother. I miss snuggling in his bed in the basement with the hair dryer on because my dad made the house as cold as a meat locker. I miss arguing with him, telling on him and then making up with him. He was such a fun brother when we were kids.