Friday, October 17, 2008

Calee Cariaga: 30 years already!

Tomorrow is my brother Calee's (kuh-LEE) 30th birthday. He was born in Klamath Falls, Oregon and is the fifth of my father's seven children.

I remember the first time I saw Calee. I was a junior in high school and I was on my way to the home-coming bonfire when I stopped by the hospital to see my new brother. He was asleep on his stomach, with only his wrinkled pink face and his considerable mop of dark hair showing from beneath a yellow blanket. He was in the hospital's new-born ward, and I peered at him from behind the glass. My father, I remember, was ecstatic. "Isn't that neat?" he kept saying, over and over. "Isn't that neat?"

Well, if I had known then what a good and true friend and loyal companion had just come into my life, I would have rejoiced.

When he was a boy, my brother Eric and I took Calee along with us everywhere. He was always a good-natured kid: generous, kind, helpful, and sweet. And, besides, whenever I had Calee with me, young women were sure to flock around us, to coo at him. I sometimes catch myself, even today, still thinking of him as the little boy who held my hand as we walked across the street, or who fell asleep in my arms at the football game.

Calee and I in 1997
But, of course, old Father Time just keeps plodding along and that little boy is now a man grown, with a beautiful and successful wife and a home in the Portland suburbs. He's migrated up and down the Pacific coast, from Klamath Falls, to Eugene, Oregon, to San Fransisco, to San Diego, before finally settling here.

Calee and his lovely wife, Sarah
Calee loves to hunt and fish. I suppose the Klamath Basin, with its beautiful and expansive wetlands, full of ducks and geese and rainbow trout, has imprinted itself on his core being. In the end, he's a mountain boy: rugged, ingenious, unconventional.

His nephews and nieces all adore him. His sisters and mother can find no fault in him. And his brothers, I especially, respect and admire him.

There's so much more to say about Calee, about his loyalty, his intellect, his conscientiousness, his humility... about his fears, his sadness, his self-doubts... but I'll leave off. I'm afraid I've embarrassed him enough.

Calee and his ever-faithful, lifelong friend, Kris Ross
Happy Birthday, Calee!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yo what's up man this is Jonas. Be about nine o'clock in the mornin- just woke up. Got f*#ked up last night. I was gonna to come thru with my cousin Romulus and Edgar and uh...stil got about three quarters of this bottle left and uh Edgar says he has a couple pinnars. F*#&en somke some of these pinners and get this whisky.....get whisky drunk today. And then tonight I'm gonna to need you to spot me like fifty- we go out. I'm gonna pawn a couple space heaters and a I'll pay you back. So- be by in like half an hour- we'll smoke some pinners and get f*#ked up!