I wrote this Saturday night.

Since I have lots of siblings, it stands to reason I would have a bunch of nieces and nephews. In fact, they started coming along before I did! But I was old enough to remember the last few siblings getting married, and later I was even called into service as a babysitter from time to time.

I remember when my nephew Tyler was born. It didn’t take long to realize that this kid was a live wire to end all live wires! He would tear around full-tilt, hollering at the top of his lungs, wearing everyone else out long before himself!

After a few years had passed, I really didn’t get to see him all that much anymore. But he did mellow out as he grew up! I remember him visiting and riding along with me down to Jerry’s to pick up motorcycle parts. I remember him wanting a ride in my Camaro not long after I got it. So we hopped in and took off.

I saw him even less as time went on. He played baseball in high school and he loved it. He was a pitcher. I played a little PE-credit baseball in college at around the same time, so we had a conversation or two discussing the game.

I was house-sitting for my sister for a few weeks one summer, and he happened to be living next door at the time. I knew he was joining the Marines, and one afternoon he came out and caught me and told me he was leaving that day or the next. I gave him a hug and we said good-bye.

He thought about driving up to my wedding last summer (I forget where he was stationed at the time) along with his girlfriend, but it didn’t work out. I was disappointed, I would have liked to introduce him to Jewel, and besides, I hadn’t seen him since that day before he left to join the Marines.

He had served in the States for quite a while, but a few weeks after the wedding he was sent to Iraq. His Dad occasionally emailed us updates on Tyler and what he was doing. He even sent a couple of pictures just a month or two ago.

I thought, man, I’ve got to send him a note! Earlier this week Dave had sent me another update and I kept it in my inbox to remind me to drop him a line. Of course I hadn’t done it yet though.

Tonight Dave called and told me that today Tyler was killed in Iraq.

I laid down for awhile and cried. I’m still crying.

Link to news articles: Oregon Marine Killed in Iraq (KGW), article in the Oregonian, KATU Article.