An old friend died over the weekend. Mike was a man's man. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, sports and life in general. He supported and followed his kids through Boy Scouts, college sports and life. Mike was an all around great guy. I did not spend much time with him in the past decade or so, I moved away and life continues at a fast pace. But I will say the world is a less happy place today. Mike was a Vet, a teacher, a community leader, and one of those people who truly made a difference.
Here is an example of his sense of humor. A bunch of us were at his house one Saturday afternoon. Mike's living room window looked over his back yard and hunting dog kennel. Suddenly Mike started swearing. "Watch that front right corner of the dog house" he said. Sure enough after a minute or two a rat snuck* from under the dog house, ran to the dog's food bowl and snatched a bit of food before retreating back under the dog house. "Stay here" Mike said. He went out the front door.
A short time later he appeared on the far side of the dog house. Soon the rat again made its way to the bowl. Mike reached to his hip, drew his pistol and shot the rat dead. Seriously, the damn thing just fell over. I nearly did too. Who does a fast draw and hits a rat on the run? We went out and sure enough, there was a hole in the rodent's head. Mike flung it by the tail into the bean field beyond his property.
A few hours later the other guys left. Mike looked at me and laughed. "Don't tell anyone", he said, "But the gun was loaded with bird shot. I couldn't miss". I believe to this day I am the only one who knows Mike was no Deadeye Dick/Wyatt Earp reincarnated. But for Mike, if no one knew the truth the whole joke was pointless. No one loved life like Mike. It is a fitting tribute the line extended out the Funeral Home door for the calling. Everyone liked Mike.
One weird thing happened at the Funeral Home. As I entered the building one of the employees looked at me and said "Hey Joe, how are you?". This might not be remarkable other than the last time I saw this girl was in May of 1980 when we graduated high school. I guess I have not changed as much as I imagine. But then I recognized her right away. The difference was in high school she was Class President and I would have been voted most forgettable in the class, if anyone could have remembered my name.