While in college at CU, my Uncle Myke quickly established himself as the cool uncle. Although I was very young at the time, one lasting memory sticks out. He would often come over in his bright yellow motorcycle and black leather jacket. For a five year old boy, nothing could have been more exciting but out of reach than the yellow motorcycle. On my bicycle I would emulate my uncle, pounding my legs while making the sounds of an accelerating engine. For my sixth birthday, no toy, cake or party would be greater than a ride on the motorcycle. A few days after my birthday Uncle Myke’s signature blue helmet lay next to the motorcycle, but also so did a much smaller black helmet for me! Slowly connecting the dots, before I knew it the helmet was strapped in and me in front of him straddling the motorcycle. Dramatically revving the engine much to my excitement, we were off! The ride seemed both an eternity and an instant, the snapshot of me zooming along the familiar neighborhood street with me forever.
He was a master at conjuring adventures and memories no matter whom, where, or where. Much past his motorcycle days, he always created opportunities for memorable experiences whether it be sneaking me off from the pool for wedding ring shopping and a surprise arcade visit, or going up to the rooftop of his apartment building in New York City to open a champagne bottle shooting the cork all the way to the adjacent rooftop or being a sanctuary away from campus during my college times while enlisting me in dirt removal services for all-you-can eat sushi. Despite his diagnosis, his upbeat attitude never let up as he turned from hiking to laps around triangle like path of the hospital ward, the pace so quick that on some corners a wheel or two of the medical pole with his IV would bank above the ground. His eagerness to be with people, energy, and the ability to craft magical moments with others are sorely missed. The immediate smiles and laugh may have faded, but the memories of our time together remain strong.