Family & Friends Series

Sandy & Dan

By Ron Robbins,
edited by Frank Perry

2009 All rights reserved

Part Five

Sandy and his entourage did indeed return to Ireland many times over the next six months. Although this time, each stay was not more that a week at time. So we saw more of Sandy. The twins and I made several trips to visit Sandy in Ireland. They are fun to travel with, and are walking encyclopedias. My working at the Plantation gave me the opportunity to get to know them much better. They are so different from other boys their age; their IQ is in a range that I will never reach. But well beyond their intelligence, they are loving, kind and sensitive boys. I got them interested in sports because I felt that they should be interacting with boys their own age. They were around adults too much. I talked Pete into helping me form a soccer team and spent a lot of time training the boys, and even got some of the fathers to help out. It worked out great. The twins took to sports, and in time became my best players. Then we got into baseball, not that little league stuff, but our own little sand lot team. One afternoon in early fall, I was working with the twins to help them with their catching and caught myself calling them bro. It came so natural that I thought nothing about it. The twins felt comfortable with that and I asked them to call me Dan. That is how that all started. Penny and Pete had no problem with that either.

December was close upon us and I had so many balls in the air I didn't know if I was going to make it through in one piece. I was under a lot of pressure to complete the software program for the first phase of Pete's new processing plant. The poultry plant process control system had to be ready for the plant start-up by mid February. December was also Mom's wedding, plus all the activities at the Manor house. I dare not think about Christmas shopping. However, that problem was taken care of with the help of Ludlow and Penny. They came up with the gift suggestions for each person. I made it easy for them, I gave them the catalogues from Tiffany, Saks, The Sharper Image, and Schwartz, and asked them to select a gift for each person on my gift list. All that remained for me to do was to order the items and have the store gift wrap and ship the packages for the out-of-town people.

Sandy proved once again to be a wonderful friend and a super boss. He helped me to test run my software program for the processing plant. I don't know what I would have done without his help and support.

The old homestead in Atlanta sold for $355,000, much more than Mom or I thought the house would sell for. I felt that Mom should take half of the money, but she refused. Yet, she did let me buy her a new Lincoln town car.

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For my Christmas present, Sandy was taking me on a two week vacation sailing the Caribbean in addition to the gift of a solid gold Rolex watch.

We flew up to Washington a day before my mother's wedding for the rehearsal dinner. Of course Sandy made sure my tux was flown down to Dunnlap to be fitted by his tailor. I didn't argue when Sandy made suggestions. It took me a while to learn that it didn't pay to disagree with him, and secondly, he was usually right. My role in the wedding ceremony was a small, but important one. I gave the bride away. It was a proud moment for me, and one I will always treasure. I loved my mother very much and I was delighted to be a part of the ceremony. I was happy for my mother for marrying a good man like Roger. It was a little sad to realize that we were the last two members of our families. I thought of Granddad, and how proud he must have been when he walked my mom down the aisle when she married my dad. I also, shed a tear for my Dad, and how little time he was able to spend here on earth. I prayed to God that he allow Mother to stay longer and that Mom will have more children.

Rogers' family was warm and friendly. I could see that my mother was going to be very happy living with Roger. His estate was beautiful and his home was magnificent. My mother would indeed have a full time job as mistress of this estate. I can understand now why Roger wanted her to be a full time homemaker. The wedding ceremony was lovely and my mother was radiant. The reception was held at Rogers' estate, and everything was well organized and delightful. For the first time in months I began to relax and enjoy myself. Roger and Mother were spending their honeymoon in the Caribbean and would be returning after the New Year. Of course since we were leaving the following day as well, Sandy insisted that they use his jet to fly to San Juan, after dropping us in Atlanta. They were spending a few days in San Juan until they boarded the ship. They gracefully accepted and off we went.

I was starting to get into the festive Christmas spirit. Sandy worked with me every day trying to trouble-shoot the software program. I realized just how brilliant Sandy was. He was light years ahead of me in his thinking. In spite of that, we worked well together as a team. We put in long hours, yet we still had time to attend the many dinner parties during this Christmas season. The week before Christmas was non-stop dinner parties at the Manor. Sandy hosted three rather large parties during the week. One was for his the employees, another for his clients, and the final dinner party on Christmas Eve, for his family and close friends. Of course, he held a dinner party for his staff in Savannah every year. He felt that they needed to get away from the house for a day, so he flew everyone to Savannah for dinner and a night on the town.

Christmas Day was spent at the Plantation with Pete and his entire family. I really enjoyed being up early to watch the children open their gifts from Santa. After that, we all had breakfast, and then we all dressed and went off to church. Then it was back to the house to get ready for the rest of the families to arrive for brunch following which the family would gather to exchange gifts. I had never received so many thoughtful gifts from my little family. Pete handed me a parchment scroll tied with a pretty red bow. I untied the ribbon and unrolled the scroll. It read, 'Merry Christmas, to our brother, with all our love', and it was signed Pete, Penny, Sandy and Pete Jr., Sandy, Kit and Stewart. "Folks, the six of us will be back in a few minutes," Pete said, "keep an eye on Stewart while were gone."

"Come on, tiger, your gift is in the barn, let's pile into the van and drive down," Sandy said.

"I know, you bought me a cow. Right?" I said.

Pete chuckled, "You'll see when we get there." Pete pull-up outside the barn and everyone got out and walked into the barn. Sitting in the in the center of the barn was a large gift wrapped box tied with a large red bow. A chain hoist was attached to the four corners of the box. Pete handed the hoist control box to me and said, "Push the red button to open your gift," he said.

The hoist lifted the large corrugated box to reveal a red Mercedes convertible.

"Oh my God," I said. I was absolutely shocked. After handing the control box back to Pete I walked over to the Mercedes and admired car for a minute, when I turned back to thank the family there were tears in my eyes. "Thank you so much. I've never though I'd get this close to such a beautiful car, let alone own one." I hugged Penny and kissed her on the cheek, and thanked her. I did the same to the children and finally Pete and Sandy. "Please excuse me a moment," I walked out the barn and around to the side of the building. "Pete, I think Danny needs to be alone, why don't you go on back to the house. We come along in a bit," Sandy said.

"Come on kids, everyone in the van," Pete said.

I was leaning against the building staring off in the distance as Sandy walked over. "Feeling better?" Sandy asked.

"Yes, thank you. I'm sorry I lost it back there, but I was so overwhelmed by your wonderful gift. Why such an expensive gift, what did I do to deserve this? You're family is just too much."

"First of all, my friend, we all think the world of you and consider you as part of the family," Sandy said. "The other reason is what you have done so much for the children. You have taken the boys under your wing and taught them to play soccer and baseball, and to mix with other boys their own age. This is something that Pete and I never had any exposure to ourselves. The twins needed this, and with your training and supportive guidance, they had the confidence to interact with other children. Even Chip is showing an interest to join in. The twins love and admire you. Mainly, because they know you care about them and treat them with respect. Yet, you also understand that they are still young boys, and that they needed to be with other boys. Sometimes, we forget that they are ten years old, and need to cut loose like other boys do, even though they have a mind equal to a young man in college.

You've also worked with the other boys to teach them soccer and baseball. You never turned a boy away. You helped them all, and involved their fathers as well, which is a good thing. No one asked you to do this; you made the time for these children, even though you had a heavy schedule with your studies and your job. The gift of the car is our way of letting you know that we care, and to show our appreciation for what you have done for the children. Sure, it's an expensive gift, but as I've told you before, Danny, when you are as wealthy as Pete and I, the money is at our disposal to spend as we see fit. And this is something we wanted to do, and something that are happy to do. Now, why don't you take me for a spin in your new car?"

I smiled and drew Sandy into a bear hug, "Thanks for the car." We both got into the car and drove up to the house.

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We were in the drawing room enjoying an after dinner brandy. "I hate to leave you and Brad in the middle of this start-up for the processing plant," Sandy said, "but I have no choice. I've got be in Ireland on Monday. Remember now, if you run into any problems call me."

"You know I will, Sandy. Stop worrying. Brad and I can handle it," I said. "You have enough on your mind without worrying about Pete's chicken plant."

"If everything goes right this time around, I should be home in three weeks," Sandy said. "Maybe by then, you will be ready with the program for the pig processing plant. Pete wants to take Penny on a cruise of the Greek Islands for their anniversary in June. He asked me if I would watch the kids while they're away. Would you mind lending me a hand with that duty?"

"No problem," I said. "I'm working on the Plantation every day as it is, the kids should be no problem. What's to watch anyway, they have a nanny and the twins will be in day camp."

"Thought I'd check in case you had something planned," Sandy said.

"The only thing I have planned is finishing my Masters and starting my new assignment. I'm a working stiff now, and Brad has several projects already lined up for me when I finish Pete's project."

"Sure wish I was heading back to the Caribbean again," Sandy said smiling. "That was the best weather and the most relaxing cruise I've ever had."

"You and me both," I said. "Only thing wrong was, it was too short."

Well, Tiger, I'm going to call it a night, I'm leaving early tomorrow morning, so I'll say my goodbye now," Sandy said.

"I may as well spend some time on the computer before I turn in," I said, as I stood and followed Sandy to the second floor. We got off the elevator and walked down the corridor to our rooms. Sandy turned and walked into his suite.

I walked over to Sandy and hugged him. "Don't let the bustards grind you down." I kissed him on the cheek, "Love you, talk to you next week; have a safe trip."

Sandy smiled, "Good night, Tiger, and thanks."

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I was working late in my office at the Plantation when Pete walked into the office. "Dan, think you can spare me a few minutes?"

"Sure, Pete, I was about to call it a night anyway. What's on your mind?"

"Actually, Dan, that was going to be my question? I feel something is troubling you. You seem preoccupied lately. Has anything gone wrong with the program?"

"No, everything is right on schedule with the program. In fact, I'm moving on to second plant debugging tomorrow."

"You haven't been acting like your old self lately. I thought maybe you were annoyed with me, the way you've been keeping to yourself lately. Is there something I've said, or done, that's upset you? You know my door is always open if you have a complaint."

"I'm sorry if I given you the wrong impression, Pete. Maybe you are the one I should be talking to," I said. "Take a seat while I close the door." I closed the door and returned to my desk. I led out a deep breath before I began. "I miss Sandy. I've been depressed since he left. His being away never bothered me before. Sure, I would miss him for a day or so, but I would usually snap out of it. This time is different, and it worries me. My stomach is tied up in knots and I've lost my appetite. It takes a real effort to concentrate on my work. If I don't, my mind turns to Sandy. I've awakened in the middle of the night agonizing over what these feelings mean. This morning, I couldn't stop the tremors until I took one of my pain pills. I can't continue like this any longer. Seeing you every day only makes it worse. I've decided it's time to see a shrink to help me to sort this out."

"I'm sorry you've waited so long to say something," Pete said. "I think you have made the right decision. You're frightened and confused right now, and if you continue like this, you'll make yourself sick. I think you should see a psychologist. If you like, I can call my sister Gloria and ask her to recommend someone in Atlanta. In the meantime, would you mind answering a question for me?


"Do you think you may be gay?"

"Oh God, I really don't know."

"Listen, Dan, we all love you. We care what happens to you. We consider you as part of our family. Nothing you could tell me would ever change the way I feel about you. But as your friend, I don't want to see you have a nervous breakdown. I know you mean a lot to Sandy, and he would be very angry if I didn't let him know what you are going through. If it would help, you can fly over to Ireland to be with him, or he can fly home."

"Oh God, please don't do that, Pete. I couldn't deal with him right now. How can I possible talk to Sandy when I'm confused about my own feelings? This is so difficult to deal with. I've always considered myself as straight."

"To thine own self be true, Dan. You're in love with Sandy, aren't you?"

"Yes, and I've felt that way for some time. Yet, I've always rejected those feelings, because I didn't want to be a homosexual."

"Sandy and I are unique twins. Our love for each other went further than brotherly love," Pete said. "Our parents just assumed we were homosexuals. We never thought of ourselves as being gay. We just felt comfortable with each other, but that relationship changed when we attended college. For the first time in our lives, we were exposed to groups of students that were as bright as we were. That's when I began to discover my feelings for the opposite sex. Sandy's orientation didn't change. It was a very deep emotional time for us, because I loved Sandy, and I did not want to hurt him."

"Oddly enough, Sandy was the one that insisted that I should go where my feelings took me. He was always stronger than me. He felt that if we remained lovers, knowing our sexual preference, we would end up destroying the love we felt for each other. We agreed that we should continue to live together as brothers, but no longer as lovers. Sandy threw himself into his work and his studies. His hard work and dedication paid off; for it was shortly after, that he came up with some outstanding software programs. I saw less and less of him after he devoted himself to his research and development projects. Of course, I was concentrating in my own studies, but not as dedicated as Sandy. After I met Penny, I found the time to enjoy my free time. We married after graduation and began to raise a family. Of course, Sandy was my benefactor and was responsible for making me a wealthy man."

"My brother is a wonderful, intelligent, generous, and loving person. I have always felt badly that things didn't work out for him with his former partners, Jack and Glen. But neither was the right partner for Sandy. I'm not ashamed of my relationship with Sandy, or to say that I was unhappy with him during our growing up period. He was an ardent and caring person. My children adore him and he them. If you think you are in love with Sandy, you should tell him how you feel. You're a fine young man, and you and Sandy are compatible. I know he is deeply fond of you, and would move heaven and earth to make you happy. But this is something you must decide for yourself. "

"Thank you, Pete; I appreciate your sharing your experiences about Sandy. It has helped a lot. I would like to take you up on that offer of asking Gloria to recommend as good shrink."

"Sure. Well, I don't know about you, but I'm ready to call it a day," Pete said.

"Me to, suddenly if feel very tired," I said.

Pete put his arm around my shoulder and walked me down the corridor and into the main house. "You don't mind me putting my arm around you, do you?"

I smiled, "No, not at all, but I think you should restrain yourself when Sandy is around, he might become jealous."

Pete burst out laughing.

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To be continued
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