An exceedingly rare photo opportunity with my one and only brother. If only we could’ve remembered to take our glasses off.

Off the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast there’s a place called Estero Island. On that island there’s a seven-story condo called Sea Watch. On the 7th floor of that condo, there’s a unit that’s been in my family since before my time. I was just five months old my first visit. The Smith’s are still making memories there to this day.

My parents hold the keys to it now, and Alexis and I tagged along this year. It was her first time and I hadn’t been back in eleven years. It’s a special place, with a lot of history. It’s a place I’m very thankful for.















You forget just how much family you really have until you get them all in the same room. We did just that for my Grandfather’s 86th birthday. All his grandchildren, some of us scattered across the country, came together for him. Can only hope all those years down the road the story goes the same way when it’s my turn.

My Mom’s side of the family got together for us at my Cousin Michelle and Mario’s house too. It was a great time. We ate, we drank, we laughed, and saw lot’s of faces. Some I hardly recognize anymore.

Going back is always a nostalgic flood. A reminder of where I come from. Things get so busy, you almost start to forget. But we always go back. Thankful for a small place in a big world that will always have us. You know what they say, home is where the Italian beef sandwiches are.

My older brother would listen to Tom Petty all the time when we were growing up, because he’s got good taste in music. I listened because all younger brothers aspire to be as cool as their big brothers. Sad to see him go, thankful he was here.

Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty

Today’s my birthday, so I thought it appropriate to share a bit of my brother and I talking about how old we’re getting.

My beautiful mother doing what she does best, loving us unconditionally. Today’s technically Halloween, but everybody knows Mother’s Day is everyday.

Love you Mom, from the bottom of the heart you gave me.

Me and my one and only brother, when we still ran wild, with the Gulf of Mexico to our backs. He turned Thirty last month, can’t wrap my head around it still. I’ve grown taller than him, but he’ll always be my big brother. He’s got a reputation for being quiet, but I think he just chooses his words very carefully, always respected that about him. I believe in him, and have pride in him, always.

Happy Thirty Joey.

You’re on your way.

Highway Patrolman by Bruce Springsteen.

Those clouds seem to follow my brother around.

Drawn by the talented Mr. Joe Smith. My one and only brother with an even more generic name than my own.

Drawn by the talented Mr. Joe Smith. My one and only brother with an even more generic name than my own.

Drawn by the talented Mr. Joe Smith. My one and only brother with an even more generic name than my own.

Drawn by the talented Mr. Joe Smith. My one and only brother with an even more generic name than my own.

Always.

This is my Mom and Dad’s home. I forgot a window next to the door. My room was the window on the right.