My brother Pat, with the childhood nickname of ‘Pete’, or ‘Peteriskit Kid,’ is probably one of the most laid-back, easygoing guys you’d ever want to meet. He is 16 months younger than me, and the personality he was gifted with enabled him to grow and thrive, even with whiny me ahead of him and two more brothers immediately after.
He always had an impish grin, likely caused by the protruding front teeth that resulted from him sucking his thumb, but mostly because he was just a funny kid. He was cute as he could be and loved to tease me by following me everywhere I went pointing at me from behind. I’m sure my over-reaction was fulfilling to such a little boy, and I’m also sure my mother got tired of hearing me cry about it. In almost every family picture, Patrick is the one doing a karate chop over someone’s head. We called him ‘SBD’; silent but deadly.
Pat got into dirt bikes and motorcycles as a teen and began to hang out with some of the neighborhood’s more questionable characters. He loved pulling pranks and practical jokes; some were lighthearted and funny, others dangerous and slightly destructive. I’ve attached, for your reading pleasure, Pat’s anecdotal writing titled, “One of Mom’s favorite sayings, ‘go outside and play,’ was really the best advice I ever followed.” Definitely worth the read to understand this guy. After my folks discovered their three middle boys were beginning to emulate a neighborhood troublemaker headed for jail, in 1974 they moved the entire family, lock, stock and barrel, to the back woods of northern Michigan.
Pat had just graduated at that time and was working for Dad doing color coating. He spent another year moving tar in the heat before deciding to head to college in Traverse City where he met his bride-to-be, Cyndi. A few years after college they were married. Pat eventually became a partner in a construction and engineering company with an emphasis in heating and cooling. In his down time he loved to fish, hunt, and run. During one of those runs he found himself quite winded and ended up in the hospital getting open-heart surgery at the age of 50. That wake up call went to all of us, and with his recovery behind him, he began to watch his diet and listen to his doctors. He’s now the proud grandpa to no less than seven (and a half) little ones, and he and Cyndi live close to all their family.
Pat has faced numerous struggles head-on with purpose and determination. I admire his ability to smile in the face of his difficulties and take humble pleasure in his accomplishments. I’m not sure I ever heard Pat raise his voice, but his presence, even in the background, is still known. Maybe because we were so close in age, but I feel a closeness with him that I’m sure he’s totally unaware of. He’s just one of those really likable people who’s fun to be around with an unexpected humor and contagious laugh. When I think of Pat, I picture him as in the photo below with a smile on his face and a beer in his hand.