Today’s column is a public service announcement. A warning, if you will. No, I am not announcing another run for office. I am not even predicting a major earthquake, although some may consider it to be as hard-hitting for the Valley. Here goes: in two weeks’ time my brother, Father Mark Edney, will be moving to Imperial County. What is such a big deal about that? Well believe it or not — please don’t choke on your cereal — but there are actually two of me roaming this earth. You see he is not just my brother; he is my identical twin brother. I know, some of you may be thinking: Isn’t one enough? Don’t worry! It’s really not that bad, I think, maybe…
The truth is we do still look an awful lot alike. We have the same mannerisms; we laugh much the same way and at most the same things. Of course we do. We share the same DNA. Some people will confuse us at first. A few years ago my wife was accosted at Costco by someone complaining that I had ignored her when we had last seen each other. It wasn’t me that ignored her; it was my brother, who didn’t know her.
The easiest way to tell us apart is hearing us speak. My brother, having spent much of the last 25 years in England, speaks with a kind of cross between an English and an American accent — call it mid-Atlantic. And no, as is often asked, we were not separated at birth. Having graduated from Berkeley, he was offered a scholarship to Cambridge University in England and while there had a call to the priesthood. He attended seminary through Blackfriars College at Oxford University. The other way to tell us apart is that I unfortunately took a larger share of the eyesight package and he is forced to wear eyeglasses most of the time.
I have often been asked whether or not as twins we share any of those talked-about telepathic things. I am not sure about that, but I and my brother do sometimes have a unique capability of feeling or knowing when something has happened to one another. A couple of years ago my wife and I were staying in La Quinta, attending a conference. As we went to bed that night, I was constantly being attacked by what felt like swarms of mosquitoes. I was forced to sleep with the sheet covering my head! When I woke in the morning, I was covered with bites; my wife didn’t have a single one. A few hours later, we received a call from my brother, who was in the Congo at the time. He was deathly sick with a strange and obscure case of malaria-like illness. Call it what you will.
If you want to have some fun, or not, get the two of us debating on government, politics, religion, or sports. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter what the topic is, we will likely go on for hours and hours. Even though he is a priest, we have shared similar career characteristics. Both of us have spent most of our working life managing real estate and financial assets. He has put more than a half-million miles in the air over the last five or six years traveling the world on behalf of the Dominican Order, working on complex financial and property matters in more countries than I can count.
Our family and especially I are grateful he is able to come live and work here for a while. It will take a little adjustment. We spent every minute from conception through the first 17 years of our lives together. We spent much of the next 30 years far apart from each other. While he was in the seminary, we only saw him once over a seven-year period.
There really is no reason for anyone here to worry about having two of us in the Valley, I think, maybe… Look at the evidence: our mother has had to put up with us for almost 47 years; my wife for more than 30. They are doing all right, I think, maybe… Welcome home and welcome to the Imperial Valley, Father Mark, brother Ronnie.
Jon Edney is a former El Centro city councilman.
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