October 17, 2018
I’ve been picking up the cadence when it comes to letter-writing so I can clear the board for novel-formatting in November. There are actually only three people left in my list of 52 to write for Project Gratitude 2018 – you, my father, and God. As much as I’d like to say it was because I was putting all the women before old white men, that’s just not the case.
You were on my list from the beginning precisely because, over as many pints we’ve quaffed together over the last 6 years, you’ve probably come to understand better than any other unrelated human on Earth why the last two letters to the earthly and heavenly fathers will challenge me the most. I’ve only put off writing yours to give me something fun to look forward to all year . . . and maybe to make you squirm a little.
It started in the Dymales’ living room in early 2013 with what I like to call the smirk of understanding. I was masking sarcasm with Sunday School verbiage before our new home group when your eyes lit up and you cracked that wry grin. It happens when your bullshit detector gets triggered—and sometimes when you’re enduring the status quo for the sake of civility. I knew, right then, that a like-mind just read between the lines. You heard me loud and clear.
It would turn out that we had similar paths that lead us to think outside of the traditional, comfortable boxes with steeples that we grew up in. We were DINKS, then, with a shared affinity for good food and good beer. We lived within walking distance in West Seattle. It was the beginning of something beautiful. I remember you talking in the first months about how many hours people need to spend together to become true friends. I think we surpassed that in the first year and a half.
In the early years we would spend many a Thursday evening at Beverage Place when I was trying to stay up late and sleep in on Friday before starting my 12 hour night shift. From philosophy, to institutional hypocrisy, to our wives and childhoods—we covered a lot of personal ground. You would end up bouncing from West Seattle, to Columbia City, to Renton, while I went to Kirkland and back, finally settling on Vashon Island, but we’ve been within 20 miles for nearly 6 years. I can’t say that about any other best friend I’ve ever had.
We’ve been a lot of places and done a lot of things: Camping at Point Defiance, Beer Junction, Thanksgiving in Bellingham, Steve and Sandy’s, Rocco’s, brew days, Red Mill, Blue Angels from your backyard, bachelor parties, Talarico’s, weddings, Peel and Press, bike rides, Endolyne Joe’s, Beer Junction, running at Greenlake, Café Ladro, PCC Breakfasts, Clay and Paula’s, Beating the Blurch, Proletariat, home group, Marination, Combo sessions, Seattle Improv, Canon, Super Deli Mart, Belltown Pizza, All Souls, Elliot Bay, Fiddlehead, moving days, No Anchor, Marination, Rhein Haus, Schooner Exact, Matador, Elysian, SafeCo Field, and Prairie Home Companion.
But wait, there was Naked City, Portage Bay, Prost, Circa, Mission, Pyramid, smoked meat anywhere it’s served, Flying Lion, The Avett Brothers, Dick’s, Winter Brew Fests, Flatstick, fried chicken in sweltering heat at Ma’Ono, Milstead, pacing the Float-Dodger 5K, Brouwer’s, Fremont, Azuma, Full Tilt, the Beveranda, Beer Star, Li’l Woody’s, Snapdragon, Paggliacci, the bimonthly trifectal assembly, Holy Mountain, 7 Seas, The Pine Box, tailgating in our living rooms before Hawks games, McMenamins (2 of them,) Brewmaster’s Taproom, Crossfit (haha just kidding on that one) . . . . but so many other places I can’t remember the name of, or I’m just completely forgetting. . . . That’s a lot of communion.
I honestly don’t know that I would have purchased a home in the PNW if you didn’t bite first. The draw of relatively dirt-cheap living in Dallas, where I fly to work almost every week now, would have been much harder to resist if you’d settled too far away to meet up. But moving that far away from my partner in so much rich, gastronomic fellowship after you finally settled down in Renton was unthinkable.
Your amplified daddy-duties, my frequent flyer commute, and the ferry ride between us have all put a damper on quality time in the last year. I understand, but it still sucks. I miss you. . . . At least we have the perpetual Google Hangouts session—a daily fixture since Wednesday, April 23, 2014. I’m chatting with you as I write this. That’s how I know you’re standing in line to board a plane in San Francisco on your way to your brother’s wedding. I’m looking forward to the play-by-play as the weekend unfolds.
In summary, thank you for being the only man in my life that my wife has ever been justifiably jealous of. Thank you for sharing life with me for over half a decade. And thanks for settling close enough to keep me hopeful for a beer and decompression session with you almost any given week for years to come. Let’s pick up the cadence a little, shall we? J