Brian in fifty-nian. Yep. That’s how we remember all these birthdays. LOL! I guess when you’re number six in eight years, you’re lucky if it’s remembered at all.
As a kid, with the silly nickname of ‘Breeder-Broy,’ Brian was a bit of a brat, never really caring much what anyone thought of what he did. He was spunky and inventive, starting his own candle-making business in the dank, dark basement of our old farmhouse. He also craved his alone time, and at one point, at an approximate age of 9, decided he didn’t want to share a room with three of his brothers any longer. He set up camp in the toy closet under the stairs with an old baby crib mattress. (Think Harry Potter’s room but way smaller.) I can still see him crouched down, pulling the plywood door closed saying ‘Nite, Mom’. It didn’t last, of course. His asthma got the better of him, and our mother nixed the closet room in short order. He loved B-B guns, motorcycles, and the outdoors, but his love of the outdoors has grown exponentially over the years to include year-round kayaking, snow-shoeing, bicycling, sailing and more.
He was handy like our maternal grandfather and began woodworking in his late teens making us napkin holders and benches. He married right out of high school, built his own home and then designed and hand-built his cabinets. With a crazy work ethic, he developed into a master craftsman in hand-built custom furniture with his work showcased in many high-end homes throughout the area. Specializing in kitchen design and cabinetry, in 2010 he partnered with a small, family-run Amish cabinet factory who now builds his cabinets to his exacting standards. Three kids and seven grandchildren later, he is the founder and president of Wolverine Cabinet Company with four locations throughout Michigan and looking to expand nationwide.
As an adult, Brian obtained his license to captain the large sailboats and will often grab some friends or family and sail the Great Lakes. With new wife Laurie, Brian is enjoying life to the fullest, relying on his excellent crew for the day-to-day running of his business and remaining always available, even when he’s sailing, kayaking, traveling, or just enjoying his beautiful hamlet on the Sturgeon River in northern Michigan. He’s happy and content and it shows. He loves his family and friends, and they love him in return.
We’ve had our differences over the years, but Brian is never one to hold a grudge and will always talk things out until there’s a resolution. Family is most important to him, and he has the gift of being able to see both sides of a situation and not judge. With age has come a humble wisdom and sense of fun that I greatly admire.