Relationships: Benjamin Ashley II

It was nice growing up with someone like you – someone to lean on, someone to count on… someone to tell on!”
— Author Unknown

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First and foremost, you must know that “Ashley” came along in history as a boy’s name first. Remember Ashley from Gone With the Wind? My dad is from Georgia, so see, it’s a Southern name. My brother was named after his father. Dad goes by Ben; son goes by Ashley.
That’s our story and we’re stickin’ to it!
I’m pretty sure my brother is somewhat okay with girls having his name now, but for many years it was a sore spot.
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I am one of six children in my family. It goes like this…
Girl (Emilie). Then 2 years later
Girl (Katie).
4 years later
Boy (Ashley)2 1/2 years later
Girl (me).
4 years later
Boy (Parker). 2 years later
Boy (Samuel).
Pretty cool line-up if you ask me.
Because of the closeness in our ages I have more memories of Ash, as you’ll see in this birthday tribute to my BIG BROTHER.
__________
My Earliest Memories of You:
Mostly what comes from my earliest memories vault is that it seems like everywhere you went I went too:  Playing at the Spears’ house. Roaming the big expanse that was our back yard. Riding bikes. Swimming at the Peterson’s pool. Climbing on the desert rocks on our early day out from school. Watching you ride (and crash) your motorcyle.
It must also be said that I remember a day of playing hospital. Mom gave us empty pill bottles that we filled with lotion and other things. We set up an exam table behind the house and with the lovely aroma of sage brush, The Doc was in. Unfortunately, when the procedure involved the amputation of my doll’s head, I became a very uncooperative nurse.
I remember you singing in your room. A lot. Singing to the radio, along with Crash Test Dummies or mimicking Dr. Demento.
There was one Christmas when we walked into the living room and saw the shiny silver boom box and you said, “Lynsie, look what we got!” It was so sweet of you to be excited, even though you thought we had to share. The excitement was magnified when we realized that Santa brought us each one of our own.
My Fondest Memories:
Actually, my fondest memories are of the times we three sisters had to gang up on your rambunctious self and lock you out of the house occasionally. There were a few times we were at a loss as to what to do with all of your “energy” when Mom and Dad weren’t around. Now we laugh at the memories.
You let me tag along when you and your friends turned some old cabins nestled in a field of tall cottonwood trees into “The Haunted Woods”. Because I watched you make your glove of claws and don your Indiana Jones hat, I wasn’t afraid of your transformation into Freddy Kruger. I wasn’t so afraid of the dark after that either.
During the years of The Haunted Woods and High School, and as long as I couldn’t drive, we cruised along Highway 6 and nearby towns in the station wagon… Only… it was no longer the station wagon. After you cut the top off, it was an El Camino look-alike. Or I like to call it the WagaMino.
I remember how you stood out in a crowded High School hallway with your half shorts, half pants overalls. (Overalls were stylish in the early 90’s, even for guys.) They had wide, blue and white stripes with the stripes going vertical. You decided to turn the one side into shorts. Just the one side. (Isn’t there a picture of you in them in our year book?) Yeah, they were pretty awesome!
Because I was not quite old enough to date but had a boyfriend, Mom and Dad said I could go to school functions as long as you were there with me. We were forced to double date. Remember when you guys blind folded us girls and took us to the desert where you had a pic-nic set up? They were the funnest dates, even when we had to take the mini-van. I can’t remember if the WagaMino just wasn’t conducive to semi-formal outfits and 90’s bangs or if it was not working at the time.
Traits That Might Signify We Chose to be Siblings in Pre-Earth Life (or maybe you just rubbed off on me):
I think we look alike more than any two siblings in our family (we have baby pictures that look nearly identical), which is saying a lot since none of us really look alike.
We must have drawn the longest straws for ‘The Tallest’ genes–you of the boys, me of the girls.
We like to do so many different things it’s hard to focus, focus, focus… Squirl!
We’ve been through some really harrowing trials in our lives, together and separate.

What I Admire Most About You:
Throughout your life, you have continued to persevere in the pursuit of artistry and originality despite the people, health crises and culture that threatened, “It can’t be done.”
You are a loving husband and father. It shows by the love your wife and kids display toward you.
Your talent and creativity seems to be boundless:
there’s the sewing
including your daughter’s blessing dress out of velvet;
the designing and creating spectacular sculptures, clothing, and furniture;  remodeling rooms;
fixing vehicles; building motorcycles;
doing your daughters’ hair (side note: Ash has two human daughters and one son as well as Sophi the dog daughter);
the funny things you say, the nick names you have for everyone; you cook fabulous food, including homemade pies;
creating and the success of Moby1 Trailers;
and the list goes and on and on.
There’s something about you that rises to the top of all that though, for me at least. Despite the conflict we had as kids and as adults, the one thing I admire most about you is that–ever since you were in 9th grade and I was in 7th–you’ve taken your role as my protector seriously. In fact, I think maybe I harbored a little jealousy for a while after you got married; Kim took my spot.
It’s okay though. I’m good now. I have a great protector of my own. And I know you’re still there if I need you.
I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t have a big brother. Especially a quirky, effervescent brother like mine.

Happy Birthday, Ash!

(Sorry I’m late.)

Love,

Loo-loo

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