My Favorite Brother

Even with five to choose from, it isn’t hard to pick my favorite brother. Johnny was my compensation prize for being dethroned as the only child and quickly became my best friend. Only fifteen months younger than I, he was my constant companion throughout all our early childhood adventures.

The Cookie and Johnny Show 1958

But wait, Bobby could also be my favorite brother. He came along three years after Johnny, a cheery ray of sunshine with his bright smile. The three of us became inseparable, like a pack of puppies. I’m pretty sure Bobby was Johnny’s favorite brother too.

The Three – Johnny, Bobby and Camille

Yes, I’d have to say Bobby was my favorite brother until little Jody arrived, a lovely child with a seriousness that bordered on divine. By now I was old enough to cradle the new baby in my arms and care for him like a little mother. I fell in love.

Joe began showing his adventurous side early on. Before he was two, he disappeared and was found several blocks away at the beach. After his second escape, my mother was forced to tether him to our back yard clothes line.


Two years later, Mike appeared on the scene and soon became my newest favorite brother. He watched wide-eyed as the rest of us bounded around him, so fascinated he rarely cried. When Mom went to hook him up to the clothes line, he begged her not to, promising not to stray. There was enough going on in his own back yard to keep him entertained. I found his unique blend of humor and uncanny ability to express it through music, cartoons and water colors irresistible.

Musical Mike with his ever impish smiling eyes

Nineteen and a half months later, James stole all of our hearts with his big, beautiful eyes. Another favorite brother had been born. When he was four and a half years old, James Taylor released Sweet Baby James. The lyrics “And rock-a-bye sweet baby James,” tickle my brain whenever I think of my youngest brother.

Sweet baby James

Today, Johnny is still my favorite brother. Our earliest memories are so intertwined that we remain as connected as twins. And Bobby, with his unique blend of common sense and wry sense of humor is also my favorite. I’m looking forward to the annual road trip with my favorite brother Joe, who often tempts me into dubious adventures. My favorite brother Mike and I often delve deep into the mysteries of life over the phone. And I get so excited at the prospect of seeing my favorite brother James that I catch myself squealing like a little girl.

With five favorite brothers, I must be the luckiest girl in the world!

James, Mike, Joe, Bobby and Johnny – 1989

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

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