Friday, September 19, 2008

My family spells tough "E - R - I - C"

Do yourself a favor...don't pull this dog's tail!
On September 19th, 1964, my brother, Eric Todd Cariaga, was born in 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.

Lifelong friends and companions
Well, it has been 44 times around the whirligig for Eric now. He's still going strong. He's known joy and sorrow and triumph and defeat, just like anyone else. But there aren't many that can stand up to it as fearlessly as he does.

Happy birthday, Eric, from your loving big brother.


Dan Binmore said...

Don't I remember a story involving Eric and a church that ends with, "Ahh! It burns, it burns!"?

Ridwan said...

Nice post brother. I like reading you like this because it tells more than just a story.

44 is a great number, may Eric add many more.