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If you’ve read my column over the past two months, you’ve read about my family a good bit. I promise I have other things to say, but you’ll have to give me one last family-based column (at least for the time being).

That’s because my little brother Nathan came and visited me last week, driving the two hours or so from North Little Rock to spend some time in El Dorado. We hit the highlights and enjoyed hanging out one-on-one for the first time in at least five years. I’m becoming quite adept at showing off this part of the state to friends and family, and they always have a good time. I imagine it will be easy to convince them to come back out when the leaves start changing and the daily temperatures drop (how many more 100-degree days can we have left?).

This weekend, we’re spending time together with his groomsmen in the Ouachita National Forest for his bachelor party (which means I missed the Outdoor Expo, but, to be fair, this was planned before I took this job. There’s always next year). It’s a unique bachelor party, full of hiking and kayaking and no WiFi. We’re all having a blast disconnecting from the world (although I’m currently holed up at a McDonald’s in nearby Mena to file my column) and building lasting memories.

I write my “little brother” — he’s six years younger than Josh and I, but he also has a master’s degree and is getting married later this month. I’m quite proud of the young man he’s become, but I guess, in some ways, he’ll always be that little kid I remember reading stories to at night before he fell asleep.

As I get older, spending time with my two brothers is getting more difficult and more important. We’ve all got busy work schedules and personal lives, we’re spread out a little bit across Texas and Arkansas, and we’ve got plenty of other time commitments. They do a great job of making time to come see me (as you can tell), but it’s a far cry from how we used to spend our days — we were homeschooled through high school, so we were used to spending almost every minute together.

This isn’t a unique experience: siblings across the country and throughout the centuries have had to cope with growing up, moving away from each other and building their own lives. Modern technology makes keeping up with each other simple, but there’s no good substitute for sitting next to each other and enjoying each other’s company.

I’m going to do my best to soak that up this weekend. So I’m filing this column, logging off and heading back to the cabin. I hope to see you soon! I’ll be out at the Union County fair several days this week. Join me. It should be a lot of fun.

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