The Peanut Story That Makes Every Member of My Family Cry at Its Retelling

Before we get started it is important that you know that when I was 12, my big brother—home from his senior year of college—agreed to fall on the most painfully explosive of grenades and chaperon me and my two best friends at a New Kids on the Block concert. We desperately wanted to go but didn’t want to have our coolness handicapped by having to attend with (shudder) parents. For two+ hours he sat patiently while we and every other preteen in the greater Washington-Baltimore metro area screeched like banshees through opener Tommy Paige (oh yeah) and then the boys from Beantown. He would later say that it was the loudest concert he’d ever been to, and he’d seen Bowie, U2, Springsteen, and just about every New Wave band to come down the pike in the 80s. Moving on…

When my sister got engaged five years ago, my brother presented her and her fiancé with an unusual engagement present at our family’s annual summer gathering. It was a large bag of peanuts. Here’s why: When my sister was about six and my brother seven, they attended a neighborhood birthday party. At one point, all the kids are seated at a picnic table in the back yard gobbling cake and ice cream. Then the mother announces that they’re about to have a peanut hunt. She tosses a huge bag of peanuts into the air and all the kids immediately scramble to start grabbing peanuts and shoving them in their bags. Doing the same, my brother suddenly stops and looks around for his little sis—also his best buddy—to make sure she’s finding peanuts and having just as swell a time as he is.

Instead, he sees her still seated at the picnic table in her party dress, slowly and mournfully spooning in ice cream and cake, tears streaming down her cheeks. He runs over to her to see what’s going on and through sobs she tells him that she thought she had to be polite and finish her cake and ice cream before she could do the peanut hunt. My brother, wracked with guilt that he hadn’t noticed her in distress right away, took her hand and led her away from the table, threw his peanuts into the air and let her hunt for them with him.

As he presented my sister and her fiancé with the peanuts that day, he told them that for decades this incident had compelled him to be a constant protector for his little sister. But now it was her fiancé’s time to take over and become the one in charge of making sure she got her peanuts, he said.

This past weekend, our family got together for the annual summer trip. And this time I was the one who was engaged. My brother handed my fiancé and I a wrapped box as he reminded us about the peanut gift five years earlier. When I opened this box, I saw that there were two tickets inside. October 2. Verizon Center. New Kids on the Block reunion tour. “You’re in charge of taking her to New Kids on the Block now,” he told my fiancé.

I didn’t know whether to double over with laughter or shed a few tears. I settled on both, simultaneously. I’m fairly certain my fiancé was debating whether to laugh or punch my brother right in the peanuts.

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24 Responses to “The Peanut Story That Makes Every Member of My Family Cry at Its Retelling”

  1. I-66 Says:

    Clearly you must punch and then laugh.

    That said, good people, your brother.

  2. JoJo Says:

    I have only one reaction….Awwwww!

  3. Lemmonex Says:

    I am green with envy over your tickets.

    What a great story. My brother would have stolen all my peanuts.

  4. Aileen Says:

    OK. I think I’m in love.

  5. Melly Says:

    omg, i went to that concert. (rfk stadium, magic summer tour?)

    what a cute story!

  6. Michelle Says:

    This story is one of the reasons I desperately wanted a big brother growing up.

  7. J. Says:

    What a wonderful peanut story. I’d have cried, too. 🙂

  8. K Says:

    Super cute.

    If Fiance bails, my sister would gladly escort you. I’ll just ask you to bring me back a Donnie t-shirt, as I did back when she and her friend Kim went… escorted by my dad.

  9. Anon Says:

    Very sweet and also awesome. That concert is going to be amazing. I’m seeing them a couple weeks later than you for the first time in about 20 years. My fiance is pretty much dreading it and I thought about going with the girls, but I’m so excited about this and all the great old songs that I wanted to share it with him. He seemed to handle it okay when I screamed and jumped while they played on the Today show in May for the first time. Check out some of their old videos on youtube before you go to get you in the groove. It will be completely awesome.

  10. etcetera Says:

    swoon! love this tale.

  11. suicide_blond Says:

    $hit..even im crying…
    can i have your big brother???
    xoxo

  12. Bridal Bird Says:

    Hey all,
    Yes, my brother is all kinds of awesome. This is just one of many reasons. Another favorite: he used to give me gifts like a Transformers tape player and an electric car racing track to keep me balanced and make sure I didn’t get too foofoo girly. Also, I inherited his sense of humor and musical taste. (Trust me, shortly after the NKOTB fracas he decided it was time for me to get acquainted with actual, good music through a little radio station that he listened to that few had heard of at the time–WHFS.) Unfortunately for those who are inquiring, he is taken. I can lend him out for big brother services at weddings and bar mitzvahs though.
    Love,
    Bird

  13. Nadine Says:

    You’re so lucky.

  14. Phil Says:

    That’s an all-timer.

    And your fiance should be castrated if he is seen at that New Kids concert.

  15. Michelle Says:

    I stumbled upon your blog while searching for anything humorous relating to weddings in order to have ways to escape from the planning here and there. I just had to tell you that this story gave me chills all over–what a very cool and very special brother you have!!

  16. Talking Budgie Says:

    I would do anything to have a brother like that.

  17. In Need of Therapy Says:

    What the hell? I had an older brother and he LOVED those damn new kids. So jealous of you normal people.

  18. Phil Says:

    In Need of….I hate to be the one to tell you this…but the person you thought was your older brother was actually an 11 year old girl.

  19. In Need of Therapy Says:

    I KNEW IT!! No wonder he smashed my GI Joe hovercraft to pieces and beheaded all my Transformers.

  20. Johanna Says:

    Please to teach fiancé all the words and dance moves to “Cover Girl” so he can reeeeally give you the birthday present you’re after!

  21. Lil' Miss Lonely Says:

    OMG… New Kids, lol. I used to have New Kid barbie dolls… ha. This is the sweetest story ever! I wish I had a big brother to look after me… and a fiancee to be handed off to 🙂

  22. freckledk Says:

    That totally made me mist up, just a bit.

  23. Lena Says:

    i arrived here by way of glen hansard 😀
    you have a beautiful family, best wishes for you…

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