Monday, April 23, 2012
For the Love of Pete
Last Thursday, Mr. W and I lost one of our most cherished friends. If you read my old blog, you'll remember him as "Dirty Painter," a handle I gave him when he harassed me for not making him a star character in my posts. I named him Dirty Painter because he was a phenomenal artist who loved to create pictures of scantily-clad girls. We have one of his masterpieces hanging in our living room and just about everyone who ever visits compliments us on how amazing it is.
Dirty Painter's real name is Pete.
He was a friend of Mr. W's for close to fifteen years; roommate for five. I knew him for four and a half. He was the kind of guy that guys wanted to be like and girls wanted to be with. This man had charm and charisma like nobody's business. His personality was so big and bold, I don't think there are enough words in the English language to properly describe it. His energy—and huge smile—filled up the room the moment he walked in, and that was before he started entertaining you with hilarious stories and reenactments. "Whapow!" is one of his famous story-telling words that could describe anything from the sound of a friend's butt hitting the snowboarding slope to the pop of his imaginary gun as he threatened to shoot squirrels who were disrupting his garden.
I remember when I first met Pete, I felt like I was getting to see a whole other side of Mr. W that I didn't know about. One that included massive laughter and crazy hijinks. Pete was always up for a good time and always working on some sort of major feat—everything from making the perfect dessert to dominating in an ironman triathlon. I have so many memories of him killing it on the Rock Band drum kit when we were all here goofing off on a Saturday night, and making phenomenal pancakes for us to eat with him and his sweet, precious lady love Southern Belle.
In 2009, he and Southern Belle talked Mr. W and I into doing the Muddy Buddy race with them the day after Halloween. Of course they made it across the finish line far before we did, but were there cheering us on as we crawled through the mud pit.
That was one of the greatest things about Pete—he was a total warrior on his own, but also a huge team player. You knew he had your back at every second and would do anything you asked of him. When Mr. W was in London and the water heater pipe burst here, he was the one who came to my rescue.
Last spring, we were lucky enough to have Pete as a groomsman in our wedding and that boy tore up the dance floor more than just about anyone else. Some of the very best pictures I have from our reception are of Pete busting his unmatchable moves. At the end of the night, he was on his way out the door when the song Xanadu came on and (after I went screaming after him) he came back onto the dance floor to cut one final rug with me. I love that boy for appreciating Xanadu and disco.
I can't quantify the shock and heartache we felt last week when we'd heard we lost him. It still doesn't seem possible. Energy like that doesn't seem like it should be able to be extinguished, ever.
Over the weekend, Mr. W and I went to a breadmaking class we'd book after Christmas and as the chef was trying to do something she said, "Oh for the love of Pete."
That statement rang in my ears the rest of the day and has been sitting there since. Oh for the love of Pete. All for the love of Pete. So much of it out there for him. So many people adoring and missing him. The pain of his passing is directly proportional to the immense joy he gave us all through the pleasure of knowing him. That costume he's wearing above could have been his daily uniform. The boy was a warrior at heart. God picked the strongest man to join his angels.