He told me regularly, when I was struggling with my emotions in my twenties: "I think you're great, and I'm not just saying that."
He's a youth minister, and he is perfect for the job.
He's running his...8th? 9th? 10th?...marathon today, to raise money for clean water around the world.
He calls his daughter Honey Bee, which I've stolen and use to address my boyfriend.
He makes his wife, and everyone else, laugh easily and heartily and regularly.
People often use "funny" as their first descriptor of him, but he makes it no shrouded secret that he is serious, thoughtful, and caring. He can switch from goof to whole-hearted listener in two seconds flat, and I love that about him.
He once made me emerge from the bathroom, towel wrapped around me, to see proof that he did in fact have a snake inside a pillowcase. Right there in the upstairs hallway. A snake in a pillowcase. I could only see its outline through the cow-spotted fabric, which was enough for me.
I can count on him to consistently leave me voicemails recounting his latest wildlife catch -- spider, possum, bat, snake. I told him he should keep a scrapbook or photo album of all these friends of his.
His alter ego, Milosh, from mother Russia, also leaves me voicemails. "You never pick up the phone for Milosh," he laments in thick accent.
Ironically Milosh did not answer the phone when his loving sister called to wish him a happy day this morning.
In fairness, he was busy running a marathon.
Milosh was the one who announced, via answering machine, that his first child would be a girl.
None of us could have predicted that hair, though.
During high school, I visited his college because I so very much wanted to go to school with my brother. I ended up going somewhere an hour away, and we saw each other at least once a month.
On my last day of high school, he waited over an hour for me to arrive home, so he, his future wife, and a friend of his could run down the driveway and set off fireworks for me.
He's very entertaining to Skype with. Or to spend any sort of time with in general.
I'm afraid this post isn't doing him justice. It's not letting you know just how great, and loving, and hysterical, and special he is. Patrick Michael, you are one of a kind. Here's to 33 more years, and then 33 more. And then at least one more, because I recall you boasting once that you were going to live to 100. And I think I speak for all of us when I say I hope you do live to see so many years.
All my love,