Rodeo Days

Everyone loves a parade.

The Lost Dutchman Days Parade is a big event in Apache Junction. It kicks off a day of festivities.

The parade this year was bittersweet. I lost my best friend. I lost a nephew – he wasn’t really my nephew, but he called me Uncle Carl. Mike Henderson was Liz’s nephew. He was the reason we are in Arizona.

Mike passed unexpectedly this past Tuesday morning at way too young an age. He would have turned 48 in a week.

Mike was my go to guy when I had to work on our cars. When I built our patio, he was here. When I built the shed, he was here.

We had tickets for the rodeo this week. We had tickets for the Renaissance Faire next week. He took us tubing on the Salt River.

Our plan for the rodeo, as always, was to watch, and wait for Liz to make her appearance in the parade in her role as Executive Director of the Superstition Mountain Museum. Then we would head over to Captain’s Lounge and reserve her seat until she showed up. We would have a few beers and some food to fill the stomach and absorb excess alcohol.

We would then head to the rodeo grounds, and have a couple more beers while walking around the festival grounds. Then we would stake out seats in the bleachers.

The Superstition Mountains provided the perfect backdrop for the event. Mike’s sister Allison flew in from the UP in Michigan, and she took his spot. Mike would have wanted it that way. He would not have wanted us to mope and mourn, but to go on partying as if he was here.

Mike lived life on his own terms. He was a cheap bastard when it came to himself, but generous to a fault with others. It was not uncommon for him to drop a hundred dollar tip at a restaurant or bar. If a friend needed money, he was shoving cash into their hands.

Next week, we will attend the Ren Faire. We will arrive an half hour early, because Mike never wanted to arrive after the gates opened. We will find the first beer kiosk and get drinks. Then we will head to the arena to see Tartanic. That is tradition. We will attend the joust, and end the day with the belly dancers.

And life will go on.

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