Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Tao of Keith

Of all the people and places, so far these are my favorites.

Dustin Wellman - The easiest friend I've ever made

Andrew Cooper - The absolute best person I know

Keith Welch - He should have his own religion... okay, philosophy maybe

As fate would have it, I live nowhere near any of them. They're my handpicked trio of the best and brightest, and I'd sell a vital organ to see them more often than I do. Dustin makes sure that the food I eat doesn't kill me. Andrew is a Behavioural Therapist for Autistic children, and Keith is a nurse, practicing in the Yukon but whose specialty is pediatrics. How's that for a lofty set of bros. No corporate robber-barons, no insurance men, no car salesmen or realtors...just amazing guys.

The notion struck me just this morning to get a note off to Keith, it had been awhile, and he quickly returned the goods and assured me that he's doing stellar. Next is a call to Coop, and then before the weekend is out I'll try to connect with Dustin. A three-pointer from way out, if we're allowing sports analogies...and what conversation with or about Keith Welch or Andrew Cooper is not perfectly suited for a sports analogy? Andrew once explained away our prying inquiries as to his love life with Blue Jays analogies that ended in a Pat Borders home plate collision (he held onto the ball), and Keith once called me Steve Yzerman in an official public relations bio. I love these men because they love me back.

I've learned a lot from these guys, but it seems in recent years that I've forgotten what might be their most important lesson...just be, and then have fun doing it. Sometimes I get too wrapped up in what I do, and I take a lot home with me...I'll admit to that, but what Dustin and Keith and Coop remind me, even just the occasional memory of them, is that life is too short and no one gets out alive. It's mostly mindfulness they teach, and in their absence I haven't been getting the lessons.

In a moment of strange distraction one morning, I was packing up camp gear and prepping our day as Led Zeppelin's "Tangerine" bounced about my head incessantly. Sharing what was my torture, I told a passing Keith that I couldn't stop humming the tune. Keith stopped dead, turned and with the most whimsical look on his face slipped this missive out of the widest of grins, "don't try," he said, and walked away. Two words, and I'd remember them for the rest of my life.

Don't try, he said. What is he Buddha?

Man, I miss those guys. Every one of them.


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