323. Remitch


[I’ve been all serious for the last three posts. Whew! Enough already. I need some big fat whimsy steak with a sweet mustard sauce of glibness. A side of steaming tomfoolery. And for my appetizer I’d like a half dozen giggles on the half shell. A raw guffaw salad and some buttery belly rolls of laughter. Yeah, and let’s see, I’ll wash it down with a quart of bubbling uproar. I cannot live on a daily diet of grim gruel, bloggourmets. Spasms of humor spew out of my mind/throat connection from time to time. I must chuckle up.]

I ran into  Mitch at the coffee shop today. He’s getting big, buff and beardy. We chatted briefly about his new girl friend, number 9 someone suggested. I had met him and her off the leash at a local  winery about five weeks ago. It was a lovely summer night and the C- band played Jimmy Buffet style Island Music Mahn as the sun set in their glazed eyes. The band’s eyes, that is. We danced the conga line and did the limbo, among other island standards.

That night I validated Mitch’s choice of girlfriend, which surprised him. He told me I’d always been cautious about his previous selections. I told him I had to approve of this one. “Why is that?” he asked innocently enough.  “Because my shoulders are covered in your tears, mucus, snot and drool, Bro. I can’t carry you through another relationship. This one has to work.”

“Wow, that’s a pretty powerful endorsement, Dude.”

“You bet your skinny jeans it is.”

Well, I inquired about the aforementioned g.f., and he told me things were moving along nicely.  One glitch arose, however. When he went to show her one of my old Mitch blog posts, he got stuck in the archives. I suggested that he simply Google, Mitchlessly. Burritospecial.Wordpress.Com. Or he could sample South Central Brovania at the same address. He felt that was too much to remember and suggested that I simply copy it forward, (something I abhor) or else write a new post about him. Okay, I can do that.

I pondered my material and decided to do a Re mix called Remitch. I’d just let my mind wander and associate all my Mitch points of contact. The funny thing is that I actually met his grandfather Ed Latch decades back, maybe even before Mitch was born. I coached basketball one year and Ed was the Godfather of Catholic Youth League basketball in our area back then. I don’t recall much about that season except we once  played a game with only four players and nearly won. The rule stated that you needed five players at the tipoff of a game. Well, our fifth player was very sick but agreed to stand there at the tip off. Then he sat for the remainder of the game.

Naturally one of my players fouled out, but the opposing coach decided to let the kid stay in the game despite the foul maximum. Eventually one of  his starters fouled out, and I had to return the favor. We lost, sort of, by the score. It would have been a better story if we’d won.

I first saw Mitch when he was in high school, rocking the electric guitar at a music program. He played some licks from the back corner of the high school auditorium. I have no idea what the selection was, maybe Deep Purple. We were there to listen to our exchange student Kaisa’s boyfriend Tyler “the Wedgie Boy” play drums. I named him “the Wedgie Boy” because he had perfected the skinny jeans look back in 2006, so much so that he appeared to be suffering from a permanent case of the walking, talking  wedgie. I didn’t trust him either. When a boy spends more time on his hair, clothes and make up than your daughter, albeit a foreign exchange daughter, beware.

I realize these are very thin tangents that almost connect to Mitch. Eventually he came out front as a very good guitarist in our church’s praise band while at the same time whipping up coffees and lattes at the bean shop on the square. That’s where we connected as he moaned and groaned through his first relationship with the music pastor’s daughter. Like every first love there is blindness, myopia, nearsightedness, ocular distortion, retarded perception, and various other ailments. It was a wide but shallow emotional swamp Mitch had to cross back then. Sad songs were written as a consequence. Very sad,

“I got the preacher daughter blues, it’s a game that you just can’t lose

Preacher daughter blues, from my head down to my shoes

If it weren’t for that preacher’s daughter, I think I could let myself get loose.

Instead I got to choose: be who I am or one of her fools.”

Day after gray day we huddled and shared the wisdom gleaned from failed relationships, the fallen kernels of truth winnowed after struggling harvests from burned fields. Think of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”.

“Now I don’t mind choppin’ wood

And I don’t care if the money’s no good

Just take what you need and leave the rest,

But they should never have taken the very best.”

That lyric refers to Robert E. Lee, hero of a lost cause. Somehow Mitch fits in by association. He has a wonderful heart and a deep spirit. He just needed to grow his mind to match them. Pain has a way of growing those pathways by pruning away the ones we would naively prefer to follow. Yeah, I like that.

So here is to Mitch and his g.f. # 9. On SportsCenter they always say, “She’s a beauty that number 9”. Well, in this case it’s true.

 

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