I'll be leaving for southern Ohio around 3:00 this afternoon for a weekend camping trip. I'll be with my family although they will be staying there through next Friday and I'll be home by the end of the weekend. This is the camping trip Rick had been looking forward to, the one he kept referring to when he'd say, "I just want to sit around the campfire with my kids."
I wasn't originally supposed to be going. In fact, Owen and I will be taking Rick's place. I hate saying that but it's for a good cause. Tonight's campfire will be dedicated to Rick. We'll toast him with his favorite drink--a rum and coke--and we'll all share our fond memories of growing up with the wildest, most daring boy in our family, and how we watched him become the reserved family man we've known for the last decade.
Rick was not an emotional person. He shook his head and smirked at overly sappy, sentimentality (unless his wife and daughter were involved) and I like to picture him looking down on us from heaven and giving us that same head-shake and smirk whenever one of us breaks down in tears at the loss of our brother. That's why I think he would love this dedication campfire. I'm imagining him looking down from heaven and saying, "Now that's what I'm talking about!"
It will be a night dedicated to one hell of a brother and there's no doubt he will be there with us sitting around the fire. He won't be there in the way we all had hoped, but he will definitely be there.
Rick was also an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan and I think you have to live in Northeastern Ohio and love football to understand the old rivalry between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, so I expect it will have a big, surprising effect when Jon (a huge Browns fan), Owen and I all show up to the campfire sporting Steelers t-shirts. We'll be rooting for Pittsburgh this year.