LOU! LOU, IS THAT YOU?: Unusual Eulogy for an Unusual Lifelong Friend*
SHENANIGANS: It's true! I can't get this or other images of Lou outta my mind! I mean I see George C Scott in a movie - frig, I see Lou! I watch Cape Fear and, damn, there’s DiNero Lou again! It's haunting! I lay awake nights counting visions of Lou. I met him in Cleveland a buncha decades ago while I was looking for a job. Something clicked and Lou was everywhere from then on! I see him jogging, at MSU Football games, fishing, College of Urban Development at MSU (We were office suite mates), partying in the Frank Lloyd Wright House listening to the “Red-headed Stranger,” or maby an East Lansing party with DPD guys and their Acapulco Red😳
Lou here, Lou there, Lou everywhere. On the Ausable and Manistee rivers drowning worms for tiny Brookies, beer cans in the back of an old-assed Volvo with the wheel falling off. Can a canoe make any more noise than with Lou in it? Oh Canada! Wow! What a fishing trip? Is it Izzy? Then there was Hermit Lou in the middle of nowhere in a cabin writing about some bird rising from the ashes, his best unpublished book! Some shit about bureaucracy and how great it is or was or shouldn't ever be – I don’t know. Somewhere Lou turned liberal-thinking on me or was it vice versa me? I can’t understand half the stuff Lou says? I'd bring him supplies at the cabin sometimes and we'd fish a little, drink the beer and tell lies about fishing and CUD!
Then there was the Cream Cup Caper! Oh, the cream cup caper, the Reverend Green and Cream Cup Lou! That vision haunts me and everyone I’ve told this story to. That Green guy (not really green) can't get "Cream Cup Lou" outta his mind either - I'm certain of that! Was the formal table-clothed table for eight in the back of the room actually moving towards the door? And were me, Joe Passalacqua, Dave Purcell and John Schweitzer really pissing our pants with restrained laughter, biting our tongues as Lou moaned lowly, those cream cups in his eyes and an orange peel for teeth? Was Arthur Ash the speaker that day or was it Coretta? Who knows – Who cares! It was Lou we all remember. Did Lou actually get called into the principle's (the Green Dean’s) office the next day? Uh Hu!
The Trans Michigan Trek. XC skiing for miles in a whiteout in zero degree weather, looking for frigging "green wax freezing, friggin blue dots" on trees marking that frigid Hiking/Horse Trail across Michigan, from Empire to Tawas. No one had skied it before me and Lou, us camping out and eating freeze dried till it came out our ears; having the meat sweats in the NorthFace dome tent. What we really wanted was to catch a cab into Spikes and maul a dozen Spike-burgers, looking and smelling like mountain men, a week out on the trail, then actually reaching Spikes in grayling and being thrown off the Greyhound Bus for home, for being so stinchy-wretched. Oh well, back to Spikes for a dozen burgers and pitchers of beer. Did Passalacqua take us home in a truck or was it just another vision of Lou! Oh God! Oh God! OH GOD! It is! It's frigging Lou! Lou! Lou, why the crap did you tell those lost-in-Michigan woods, rookies from NY that we met trying to find a way to cross the AuSable River, that the coyotes wouldn't come into camp if the fire burned all night? I hardly slept for the noise of those two breaking sticks, tending the fire pit, which by daybreak was a smoldering 10’ in diameter fire pit, melted four feet down in the snow. Why? Why, Lou!
Did we actually do it again the very next year? Of course we did - What are sabbaticals for anyway? And this time we took Anthony Thompson and Tom Jackson (his toe was black)?
Then of course there was the legends of Ecoman (Lou) and Captain Advancement (me) – true superheroes, who would suddenly appear out of nowhere (at staff meetings) in eye masks, tights with capes no less to save the day! we would undoubtedly arrested in today’s politically correct world at our respective university offices, at the very least charged with indecent exposure or insanity.
Yes Lou was my super hero - and, and, and now, now you send me this image of Irish-Lou in a bubbly bubble bath as an invite to your 70th - Arrrrrggggggg! No way! No frigging way! I can't get it outta my mind! I can't sleep! I CAN'T SLEEP! My frigging hero, friggin older than dirt and in a frigging bubble bath - necked??? I'm gonna pull my full-head-o-brown-non-gray hair out! LOU! LOU! LOU! There is no such thing as Irish green Lou! Maby Green and White Spartan Lou but never, never, never ND Irish Lou!
Lou loved to party. Lou loved to fish, Lou loved the Marines, Lou loved marathons. All that and more. Lou till his dying days loved to docent the Elephant Whales up the Pacific shoreline where he spent his retirement with his lovely wife St. Lynette!
My hat’s off to you my lost friend.
Rest In Peace, my Brother (d 5/2022). I, and a whole buncha people you touched in life, shall dearly miss you and your boisterous humor. Amen
*excerpts from MY WRINKLE IN TIME: My Memoirs (to be published in 2023)
photo on my back deck in Huntsville, AL circa 1988 tom tenbrunsel
Resident Writer in Appalachia