Klamath Falls, Oregon. Klamath Falls is a high-desert, lumber-and-agriculture town that some say produces hard-bitten fighters with iron in their fists and spines. And, if that is true generally, then Eric is the epitome of a Klamath Falls native.
Eric is an avid outdoorsman, a driven athlete, and, truth be told, probably the closest thing we have to an "enforcer" in my family. He hunts ducks and geese, and fishes for bass and steelhead and rainbow trout, like any good Klamath Falls native. He rides his bicycle like a man possessed, and exudes an aura of confidence and self-assurance that I can only envy.
My father used to say to Eric and me, "When things are too tough for everyone else, they're just right for you." Well, Eric took it to heart. He was always feisty as a kid, but now, as an adult, he is definitely someone for whom it is well to remain on the good side.
Don't get me wrong: Eric is charming, friendly, and has a sense of humor that can render you helpless with laughter. But woe to he who foolishly provokes Eric!
Eric and I, like all brothers, I suppose, have had our differences over the years. But I put those down to each of us feeling he knows what is best for the other. We identify with one another so strongly that it is sometimes hard, for me at least, not to offer advice and counsel even when it is not solicited.
There have been times in our lives when Eric and I could tell each other more with a glance than others could relate in hours of conversation. We have been best friends, travel companions, and trusted advisers. Of course, we have always come to one another's defense and support in times of crisis.
Happy birthday, Eric, from your loving big brother.