Mom used to say "You don't know how lucky you are, to have so many brothers and sisters" and then she would go on to tell me that she had a sister but that she passed away when she was a baby.
I heard this a lot as a child. And honestly, I didn't understand it until just now.
This morning I missed a phone call from my nephew Adam. When I first saw his number on my cell, I thought that maybe he was going to tell me that he was going to come down to visit me. I have always dreamt about this happening whenever a near relative calls me...especially when it's an unexpected call. But when I called him back, this phone call wasn't anywhere near close to that excited guess.
Earl Walter Kleinke (my brother) passed away in his sleep. They found him this morning.
Mom and I both agreed that Earl was the creative one. The one who made things interesting. He jumped at opportunities like a rabbit jumps to a hole when it's being chased. He was the "yes" man. At least I always thought so as a child. Any time I had a "bright idea" he would say go ahead...and then he would help me brainstorm the next couple of steps. When I was little, Earl was big. Big in years and in stature. My mom always called him "the Famous One". She was so proud of him. He was one of those people whom, when he walked into a room, everyone noticed. He had dark dark hair with a dark full beard with a big and booming laugh. He was tough when he needed but gentle as a lamb when people he loved to spend time with were around. He liked to tell jokes but mostly liked to hear a 'good one'. He always encouraged me and others to be there best and to reach their own potential. And hey, if you can make money at it along the way...all the better.
Earl always called me on my birthday....and Holidays...I missed calling him back this Christmas.....