Vicki McClenathen spent months comparing DNA matches and family connections.

What started with a hunch on Ancestry.com ended with a pile of Polaroids on Vicki McClenathen’s kitchen counter.

“There you go,” said 81-year-old Eddie Houchin, holding up an old snapshot of his profile. “You got the nose.”

“Yeah,” joked 57-year-old Charlie Basinger. “I think so.”

McClenathen, the former executive director of the Community Associations Institute in Sarasota, spent months comparing DNA matches and family connections before concluding that Basinger was the half-brother she never knew she had. It took weeks to break the news, meet him in California, then arrange a cross-country reunion with their father.

The men only met Thursday morning at the Punta Gorda Airport, but they quickly found things in common. Both are Army veterans who love motorcycles and proclaim their support for President Donald Trump. They share politically incorrect attitudes and a bawdy sense of humor.

The son’s first question for his father: Was he conceived in the back seat of a Ford or Chevy? Houchin replied that it was a 1953 Hudson Hornet.

“Well,” Basinger said, “at least my mother was comfortable.”

McClenathen, 60, spent most of Thursday laughing and shaking her head. Her brother and father laughed and joked about everything from Army days to penis size. They’re both supposed to stay with her for more than a week, but neither had any grand plans for a Florida vacation.

“I told them, ‘We can do whatever you want,’” she said. “They both said, ‘I’m fluid, like water.’ They both said that to me.”

‘Pieces of a puzzle’

McClenathen’s interest in genealogy began with her son’s fourth-grade assignment to trace his family tree. She reached out to her grandmothers and looked as far back as the Revolutionary War.

“It’s like putting together pieces of a puzzle,” she says. “I love to learn and I’m always learning things. I learned about Mammoth Cave because my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather discovered it.”

At Ancestry.com, she found Basinger, who had been given a DNA test as a present from his mother and daughter. He was interested in his Scotch, Irish and German background.

When McClenathen contacted him, they began exchanging photos. Then they had their first FaceTime conversation.

“The minute I saw his face, heard his voice, I knew,” she says. “There was an instant family connection — boom.”

Basinger saw his father in himself, too.

“You take my Basic Training photo,” Basinger says, “and we look like twins.”

This led to an awkward conversation with his mother, who wound up marrying and then divorcing another man, one he had always thought was his biological father.

She told her son that she knew Houchin, back in 1960, but they were never a couple and the tests must be wrong. He gently suggested that DNA results — and a pair of prominent noses — offered a different explanation.

“My mom’s not too happy about this, but I’m elated,” Basinger says. “I’m meeting my real father, who’s still alive.”

‘Reality’ of DNA

Basinger, who lives in San Bernardino, California, is a retired correctional officer. He has two children and one grandchild. For an airport meeting with his father, he wore plaid shorts, a golf shirt and his 82nd Airborne cap.

Houchin, who lives in Ohio across the river from Pittsburgh, used to run a home repair business. To meet his son, he wore a stars-and-stripes tie and a cap that said, “If you love freedom, thank a veteran.”

McClenathen, who has a big laugh and a smaller nose, met Basinger while visiting family in California. She has three children and two grandchildren, along with an interest in all the branches of a family tree that includes marriages, divorces and the occasional surprise.

“Reality’s reality,” she says. “The more I do this DNA stuff, you just have to tell it like it is. The DNA doesn’t lie.”