Sunday, December 23, 2007

A man you all would've loved to meet - Dale Short

Blogging is vapid. The impermanence, the snarkiness, the self focus - yuk, yuk, yuk. Don't get me wrong - I've been guilty of the crime for years. Yet as much as I strongly believe in what I have to say, there are days when I couldn't care less about the immediacy and momentary nature of the forum. Such as today. I lost a man I admired beyond words today. Dale Short. My godfather.

Dale was a business man, a family man, a veteran, a pilot and an all-around larger than life stud in my eyes. For the first time ever, I Googled him today after my Mom called to say that he'd died early this morning. I found nothing. Not surprising, I suppose. Dale was a product of a different era that couldn't care less about casual exposure to random mentions. Dale leaves behind a full family, a rich history and assuredly volumes of stories. But I need to offer my own. Maybe this will bridge some sort of gap. Define it however you see fit.

One particular summer I went to stay for a week with my godparents, Dale and Margie. I must have been about 8-years-old. Surely no more than 10. So I was an idiot. Cute as hell, to be sure. But an idiot. I remember clear as if it happened yesterday the night before I went back home. I rode into town with Dale to buy among other things something that I'd never seen before - coolies. C'mon, you know what I mean - those insulating can coolers that in the 70s were made only of styrofoam and are now so varied and ubiquitous that they don't even seem to have a name anymore. But for an 8-year-old riding in his godfather's Cadillac back to the farm, they seemed like an enigma that I couldn't even begin to consider. I remember Dale explaining that they could keep drinks cold. I remember Dale being as excited as me to try them out. I remember taking them into Dale and Margie's screened porch, where we were joined by a friend of Dale's who had dropped by. They each got a beer out of the fridge. I got a "pop" - a Fresca or, possibly, a Rondo (if it had been introduced by that time). Dale and Margie were too good at parenting to give a kid caffeine that close to bedtime, but they could sure as hell understand what a treat a "pop" on a Friday night would be. Dale gave me one of the new coolies. As surely as I can see the keyboard in front of me, I remember looking into that silly styrofoam coolie and seeing a hole in the bottom. But I was trying to be cool. I was hanging out with my godfather, after all. So I poured the entire can of Fresca into the coolie and, subsequently, through that hole and onto my lap. I was mortified. Dale's friend started to laugh. But - here's the point - without missing a lick, Dale reached over and took the can and coolie and said "it happens to all of us." I'll never forget that moment of kind reassurance. Dale was one helluva man.

Hope you remember those you'll never forget today. Rock on.

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