Thursday, July 23, 2009

No. 52

Beer: Sweetwater 420
Date: July 19th, 2009

Place: La Fonda, Atlanta, GA

“Micah. I was playing golf with your father-in-law. He was really good.”

I met Greg in New Zealand. He was wearing a red Patagonia R2, and I thought if there was ever a lad I should introduce myself to, it should probably be the one who had on the right gear.

Greg was in college at Denison in Ohio, and was abroad with the Butler program. Myself and two other guys were the pariah: Ole Miss had a direct exchange and we didn’t know anyone except ourselves. Butler, on the other hand, had their x hundred students come down a week early and get to know one another. They were a well-oiled machine - connected, complete with shared experiences before the real experience even began.

I don’t know when or how, in particular, but we became fast friends after that introduction in Maori. It might have been in the pub after class. Or at Wiatiata. It was certainly before the epic 2500km two week drive around the south island that got us taken advantage of (Stewart Island), sick (Hamilton), stranded (someplace), soaked (Franz Josef Glacier).

Greg is one of two peers who I really admire above others.

  • Greg had never sailed before he walked onto a pier in NZ and told the crew he was there to help. He won no fewer than half a dozen elite sailing titles and was asked for by name as The American. After one sure race, a rum runner, Greg celebrated the victory drinking too much rum for the trophy, woke up under an interstate overpass, and still managed to meet me to climb at the gym by 10am.
  • Greg was a religion major. Out of the blue, he aces the Series 7, becomes a financial expert, and within two years is a vp of a very important someplace that does something very important with someone’s money. I bet you $5 it’s a non-profit. I’d expect nothing less from him.
  • One morning at 8am I get a call from Greg. He is smitten with a young lady from North Carolina, which drove him to get in his car at 1am with his roommate, Scott and a stranger, Vince (no lie, complete stranger), and drive to her graduation the next morning at Wake Forest. He was looking for someplace to sleep a few hours before he showed up unannounced.
Turns out this young lady is my father-in-law’s best friend’s daughter.

Sometimes, when you've been halfway around the world to realize how big it is, you're also shown how small it is.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Greg and I one day are neighbors in North Carolina. Raising our kids and telling them stories of the days when their dads were young and full of life and taking it by the horns every day and wrestling it to the ground.

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