I love this picture of my brother Erik because it reminds me of when he was young and enjoyed building forts in the woods, our house, or in the snow. The household forts would be built of boxes or blankets and would stretch through many rooms. Erik didn't enjoy just the construction of the forts, but also the use of them. One time he built an igloo in our backyard and spent the night in it with a friend. Another time he tried to spend the night in a fort constructed in a shed on a piece of property near our home but fear drove him home in the middle of the night.
A life long lover of all sports, Erik could usually be found at a local ball field playing baseball in the summer, football in the fall, or hockey in the winter with a large group of neighborhood guys. Erik was a huge sports fan, enjoying Michigan State football, the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, and of course the Detroit Red Wings. If you tried to call him while he was watching one of his favorite teams on television, he wouldn't answer the phone. This didn't mean he didn't care about you, just that there was a time and place for everything.
And he certainly made plenty of time for family. Whenever we had a family gathering Erik was there, usually organizing some sort of game for all to participate in. I can remember many nights spent with Erik gathered around a table, playing board games or card games like euchre. Other times would find us outdoors playing croquet, badminton, or other lawn games. Fiercely competitive, Erik would usually announce at the beginning of a game that he was going to win, and he usually did. If you ever did beat him, it was usually that much sweeter due to his bluster. Typically much teasing was bantered back and forth until the winner was determined.
In typical Erik fashion, one year Erik arranged a series of old time games like an egg toss, sack race, and a balloon toss for his daughter Cassie's birthday and much fun was had by all. Erik was a fantastic father and encouraged Cassie to participate in sports, starting her in hockey from the time she was a young girl. Cassie was the love of Erik's life and he loved spending time with her. Sadly, Cassie and the rest of us have a huge void in our lives now that Erik is gone. His love of family and enduring smile will live on in our hearts forever.
If you knew my brother, I would love to hear from you!