Attending a Funeral and Attendant Thoughts

The funeral was in the afternoon yesterday, and though I didn't know the deceased well at all, his brothers are two I count among my oldest friends in Texas.

I'm including examples of their work, just to break up my rambling words!

If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you'll have heard them mentioned in passing as Little Barrera and Bigger Barrera - the irony is I really should have dubbed them 'Bigger' Barrera and 'Older' Barrera...

...since Little Barrera is freaking huge these days!  Huge is only intimidating when the adjective describes someone mean... or someone who finds homo-erotic humor endlessly entertaining.

And really, who doesn't?

The funeral was for LB and BB's older brother, a dedicated Harley man with a love for computers and heavy metal music.  It made for a fantastic send off, with the man being led to his rest by an entourage of bikers decked out in leathers.

Very cool.  Very appropriate.

But it's not why I'm writing.  The human condition is vast and ambiguous, and sometimes contradictory, so that even while I was feeling for the family in their grief I was considering my place in the world.  Specifically, the events that led me to a seat at the funeral.

My link in the chain of human connection.

My father was military and chose to retire here, in Wichita Falls, Texas.  I spent my life moving from one military community to another, so when I was transplanted in the middle of my junior year of high school I expected to get on okay.

That didn't happen.  Problem is, this isn't a military community but rather a community with a military base in it.  I started a new semester in a class where practically every person knew each other from kindergarten.

Outsiders weren't welcome.  It was what I'd call today an entrenched system.  A kid like me, a year younger, still small, and with a wide variety of disparate interests, simply wasn't welcome.

I was miserable, and those six months of the latter half of my junior year were among the worst of my life.

That summer was better.  I caught a ride to a local game shop (something they didn't have in England, by the by; this was still the early days of Citadel, and I'd purchased my models from a corner store) called Brian's Legacy.  To make a long story shorter, I met the wargamers there, many of whom I still know now.

Particularly, I met Bigger Barrera and his younger brother, Little Barrera.  (Yea, I'm avoiding proper names.)  They were very close, despite one being in college and the other soon to be starting high school.  I was two years older than LB, but still significantly younger than the other guys at the store.

My point is if it hadn't been for these two I probably wouldn't have been welcome.  Bigger Barrera's acceptance of me got me a space at the table and introduced me to Rogue Trader.

Little Barrera didn't really accept anything, back in those days.  I was to immature myself to recognize the crap some of those older guys tried to make LB swallow.  Why?  Because they saw him as someone's little brother, and it didn't help he was already painting at a high level and kicking the shit out of everyone over the board.

I have a vivid memory of playing LB over the board at his brother's house; I was winning and I guess I made some off the cuff, cocky statement... or maybe it was nothing at all - who remembers?  Regardless, LB got pissed and we were soon yelling at each other over the board; it ended right before he was about to clear the table to get at me - Bigger literally lifted him off the ground by his shirt collar...

...no mean feat, even back then...

...and gave him crap for acting out in front of a guest.  Good timing: a minute more and he would probably have to give him crap for beating a guest senseless.

We were both kids with a fair bit of growing up left to do.  Looking back, we probably both wore on people's nerves, but it's the nature of the young to do that.  It's the responsibility of the older to let it slide.  Bigger Barrera did that for us...

...but I've never forgotten he didn't have to do it for me.  He was the first friend I made in Texas, and certainly one of the most important.  He is literally the best person I know, and it's a shame he lives so far away these days.

Little Barrera left his temper behind before he ever graduated.  It took me longer to appreciate the man he became because it happened when I wasn't looking.  He's one of those rare tough guys who simply isn't mean unless pushed to it, and it's impossible to get him there without ample, friendly warning that you're making a mistake.  He makes nice a virtue to be emulated.

It's the nature of the job I do to break down people, to try and understand them.  Most of us are shades of gray, neither all good nor all bad - and yea, I count myself in that, too.  That's not a critic, you understand, just my opinion of We The People.  We should all be thankful friendship isn't predicated on our virtues...

...because most of us would probably come up short.

I attended the funeral to pay my respects to a family that so obviously did something right.  The Barreras are ichiban, and while I am very sorry for their loss, I remain profoundly, selfishly grateful to count them as friends.


SinSynn said...

"How many of us have them?"

(just in case the reference is missed....)

Celebrate life, brother.....

So.....is this an inappropriate time to make a homo-erotic joke about Brent in biker leathers?
Sorry.....couldn't help it....

Happy Father's day to alla da Pops out dere....

Lauby said...

yeah, funerals are funny like that.

I had a vaguely similar experience myself, a couple of weeks ago.

There's nothing quite like being directly confronted with human mortality and grief to get the thoughts churning.

Also, SinSynn - I need you to email me.

Kevinmcd28 said...

Daedmans Gun- Ashtar Command

Kevinmcd28 said...

deadmans gun*

SinSynn said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks Brent I really appreciate it. You can call him "The Great" that is what he had us call him. I will miss him but I will never forget him. He is my brother and I love him and nothing can ever change that. Thanks -Little Barrera

Relic_5 said...

I am sorry to hear about their loss.
I will add however, that even though someone is gone from our lives, the memories we have of them, and the lessons they taught us, will stay with us all the days of our lives.
As long as we remember them, they're never truly gone.

(A new favorite!) Anon: I haven’t even bothered playing a game of 6th yet, cause I have read the rules, and actually understand how they interact with units. I know my armies no longer function how they should, and so I need to change them.

Strictly Average: 'cause 6-inches is all you get.

Stalking Jawaballs since 2009.

Jawaballs: "My butt just tightened up."

Brent, preferred 2-to-1 over Not Brent in a recent, scientific poll.

Brent: emptied the Kool Aid and DRINKING YOUR MILKSHAKE with an extra-long straw.

Unicorns don't exist.

Home of the Stormbuster, the Dyson Pattern Storm Raven.

I'm a comment whore and this whore is getting no play.

Not Brent hurts Brent's feelings.

I think, therefore I blog.

"You should stop writing for everyone else and worry about your crappy blog." - Anon.

Not Brent has been spotted lurking around with a green marker.

He's not like a bad guy from a cartoon, all devious but never quite evil, Not Brent is bad beans, man, bad beans.

Dethtron: "Again I feel obliged to remind you that trying to sound smart only works if you are."

MVB: "I am not one to join the unwashed masses of self-titled 40k experts out there distributing advice from their blogs about exactly how your list should be built..."

Shiner Bock on tap: that's how I choose hotels.

Strictly Average: The Home of Hugs and Gropings.

Don't feed the trolls!

MoD: "Welcome to Brent's head."

Competitive is Consistent.

Dethtron: "...you could use that extra time to figure out a way to get your panties unbunched and perform a sandectomy on your vagina."

Dethtron: “When calling someone an idiot, it's generally best to avoid making grammatical mistakes.”

Warboss Stalin: "You know, if it actually WAS funny, maybe I wouldn't mind."

Mike Brandt: "It's not a successful bachelor party if you don't misplace someone".

"The Master Manipulator (every store needs one): "...now, enough stroking."

Kirby: "I don't know about gropings. Seriously, Brent, keep it in the pants, please."

Loquacious: "No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get Hugs & Gropings or Stalks Jawaballs into Brent's little tribute."

Captain Kellen: "I rate this article a Brent on the Faith Hill to Nancy Pelosi scale!"

Drathmere: "Come for the balls, stay for the Brent? Kind of disturbing, man."

Go no further, lest thee see something thine eyes would fain look past!

Isabelle: "So, thank you for supporting your local and not so local unicorns. A noble gesture like that can show some scared kids out there that they don't have to hide from everyone and it's ok to be who they really are."

There is nothing more interesting than We The People... in all our beautiful, ugly glory!

On Internet Advice: You see, I have an almost religious belief that's it's a huge, colossal waste of time.

...I think I'll call it the Gun Shy Pattern Stormbuster, because after the Internet destroyed my first humble effort, I find I'm a bit worried about the reaction to this one.

Lauby: "Is it left over from that time you thought that you could just complete step one 12 times to meet the mandates of that court order?"

Not Brent: "I guess we'll have to read on and find out. Signed, Not Brent. Especially today."

Cynthia Davis: "I think the scrolling text is from Glen Beck's new book."

Grimaldi: "Spamming certain units creates interesting possibilities but also fatal weaknesses."

Purgatus: "Math can inform decisions. It cannot make decisions."

Thoughts? Comments? Hugs and gropings?

You'd be that much quicker to figure out what I mean when I refer to a Unicorn if I covered it in a rainbow flag.

SinSynn: (To Brent) "Curse you and your insidious influence on the internets..."

Dave G (N++): "You know you're an internet celebrity when your following is more akin to tabloids."

I prefer the term Internet Personality (or IP) myself, seeing as how I coined it.

Lauby: "Your attempt to humanize him as failed. I feel nothing but scorn for his beard - it's like a warcrime or something."

BBF: "I've always thought you are a good player but I finally figured out that you are a great player. It's hard to see sometimes because your personality is engaging, sincere and quite charming - to me that is kind of a rare combination."

'Clearly cheating?' I didn't misspeak: you jumped to conclusions. If you'd like to apologize I'll be happy to send you an autographed picture of my ass.


I thought I was doing alright before I realized I was losing.

Age and treachery beats youth and vigor every time.

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