Sunday, July 06, 2008

Tribute To My Brother

You and your brother are a couple of hundred yards north of home, standing in the middle of the road. You and your brother are discussing what you both want out of life.

My younger brother and I had that experience. I had graduated High School earlier that summer and he had just finished his freshman year of High School. One day that summer just before I was about to leave home and go to Chicago to attend DeVry Institute of Technology we took a walk up the road north of our home. There we were in western Kansas in the August heat standing on a small bridge over dry creek, discussing what we wanted out of life.

I wanted to survive Chicago and DeVry. I wanted a good job, a nice place to live, and so on and on we talked. Eventually our discussion arrived at the point where my brother told me he thought my goals were to attain the average things of life. He told me that he would like to enjoy the good things not the average things. I don’t know if my brother remembers this discussion, but I have never forgotten it.

So over the years, as I was busy raising a family, continuing my education, and building my career, I watched my brother raise his family and build his career. He made it through college. I watched as he and his wife worked his way through a number of years of graduate school. I was proud of him when he took his first postgraduate job in a small town in southwestern Wisconsin. A few years later, it was with even greater pride that I watched him take a job in a town in Iowa and work to build a small clinic into a large clinic with a satellite clinic in that state’s capitol.

Over the years my brother continued with his love of bicycling. He saved to purchase a Merlin bicycle frame, as he told me it wasn’t an average bicycle frame it was a good bicycle frame. He put thousands of miles on that bicycle riding in RABGRAI and other sponsored bicycle rides so many times that I’ve lost count. And if you asked him, I think he would have to admit that he also has lost count.

I also loved to ride, but suffer from Spinal Cerebellar Degeneration forcing me to give up riding. The last time my brother and I rode together we had to do it on his tandem bicycle. It was great fun. I don’t remember if that was the last time I road a bicycle, but if it wasn’t the last time, it was close to the end of my bicycle riding days. That week he and I rode many miles on that tandem. For me it was a wonderful experience to spend a week building that family bond once again after spending many years where each of us were busy raising family and building careers.

For years my brother has dreamed about riding across the USA. On June 15, 2008 he started his dream. Instead of taking a Southern biking route across the United States that would mean fewer mountains, he decided to take a northern route. Taking this route meant he had to travel up and over a number of mountains. On Friday July 4, 2008 in the middle of Wyoming after finally riding through the mountains and looking forward to riding through the plains of central USA, he crashed. I don’t know many of the details of how the crash happened, but I do know that my brother broke a couple of ribs, his clavicle, and has other injuries. So my brother will not be completing his dream bicycle ride across the USA this summer.

Brother, I can’t tell you how proud I’ve been watching you over the years. Nor can I tell you how deep my sorrow is at seeing the completion of your dream postponed.


Blogger Me said...

I think you both chose the best things...

Monday, July 7, 2008 at 5:08:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Cal Meuzelaar said...

Thanks brother. It's good to be home, but I'm sad and confused. I have no clue how this happened. None. The easy part of the ride was just beginning. I just have to say "Blessed be the Name of the Lord." Cal

Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 7:15:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Zaak said...

Oh man, that's rough about the crash. At least it should be a good story in a few years. Taking time off to do the trip is probably the hardest thing so I hope he can find time in the coming years to finish the trip. Here's to quick healing and being alive!

Sunday, July 20, 2008 at 2:41:00 PM PDT  

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