One of our best friends, Mike Brown, passed from this earth last December 23rd.
We didn’t know because he was visiting his kids in Oregon.
Mike masqueraded as a Brooklyn tough guy who had a barely hidden heart of gold under that New York attitude. He was the lead mechanic at the Reno-Tahoe Airport for many years and that was his persona…he fixed things. He bought and sold old cars, he built houses and, for me, he helped build an AM transmitter site which is the hardest thing in broadcasting to get right. He got it right. One of his favorite times was Reno’s annual Hot August Nights classic car festival.
The highest praise I ever got from him was when we did a four hour remote broadcast from one of Adam Laxalt’s Basque Frys. He helped us set up, declined an invitation to stay and then called me when I was on my way home afterwards to tell me he had listened to the whole event and enjoyed every minute of it.
The pancreatic cancer started to get to him a few years ago.
At first—in his Brooklyn persona—he wouldn’t say the word cancer.
Recently, he mostly went to lunch with us as part of the ritual because he couldn’t taste much. Our favorite place was Red’s 395 Grill in Carson City.
As Christmas approached this year, I told him that I was assuming his normal gift—a bottle of Jack Daniels—was out of the question on his doctor’s orders. He agreed. But not willingly…
At the time, he was in a rehab hospital.
I called him up one day to see if he wanted lunch and he answered from his daughter’s house in Oregon. The story I got was that he just checked himself out and drove to Oregon.
We never saw him or talked to him again.
But we have thousands of memories of a life well lived. Like all of us, he was an imperfect human being but also a great friend and a whole lot of fun, when he wasn’t busy helping me or someone else.
If he could read this and talk with me today, he’s ask me why I was wasting this space on him when I could be going after (expletive deleted) Nancy Pelosi. We’ll get back to that next week.
Mike was a big supporter of the President and a big supporter of his agenda.
Rest easy, big guy. We’ve got it from here.
Mike would probably have gotten a good laugh from another drama going on in my life which he didn’t know about.
While he wasn’t a serious dog guy, he made exceptions for the two in my family—as long as they didn’t lick him or jump on him.
Our 13-year-old cowdog, Major, developed an osteosarcoma on his right front leg. Our vet suggested we amputate the leg, since a chest x-ray showed that the cancer had not spread and Major is a pretty active dog.
So, we got it done last week.
Our dog puts the stub in stubborn. Yes, he knows how to walk on three legs. We learned that at 5 one morning when we put him outside the back door and he stood up, walked down two stairs into the back yard. But, no, he’d rather be pulled around the house on a rug and waited on hand and foot. If I had to make odds, I’d bet on my wife winning that battle of wills. She’s much tougher than I am.
We don’t know how much time we have added to Major’s life but we hope that he’ll finish the third period and maybe get into an overtime shootout.
We just can’t bring ourselves to kill a dog for our convenience.
If, somehow, Mike’s reading this…please stop laughing.
As this was being put together, Major stood up, haltingly walked from the living room to the back door, was let out, walked out into the back yard and did his business. Then, he turned around and walked back, went in the house and took a nap. Thank you Dr. Kathleen Fisher and your staff at the Washoe Valley Veterinary Clinic. You all are the best.