I first met Thor during my trial period as Andrew's fiancé. I understood during this time that if I was rejected by Nancy, Kathy, or Thor, there probably wouldn't be a wedding.
You have no idea.
Nancy, Kathy, and Thor are some of the smartest, funniest, quickest, best people I've ever met. And while I grew to love them all, Thor always held a special place in my heart for a number of reasons:
- I'd heard hundreds of stories about him while dating Andrew six years earlier (including his climbing Half-Dome, slipping, falling forty feet onto his head, then getting drunk at a New Year's party shortly thereafter and pulling his stitches out for fun);
- I'd spent a considerable amount of time while dating Andrew wearing a discarded Rugby jersey of Thor's;
- I didn't believe any of the stories about him were true... until I met him. And realized they'd probably been played down from their technicolor reality;
- Any time you have the opportunity to meet an actual Norwegian Thunder God...well...it's a special event.
There are many who knew him better than I and many who will post about him with more of value to say, but he's in my heart too. He was...blustery. He didn't suffer fools. He was not an easy person.
But he was good. I'm sure there are female Democratic operatives (and Ann Coulter) who might like to disagree with me on that as he wasn't exactly P.C., but he never, never treated me with anything but respect (once he approved me as Andrew's To-Be). And honestly, Andrew and an age-old friendship aside, if he didn't like me, I (and anyone nearby) would have known it.
I think that moment where I earned his stamp-of-approval came at a bar in Atlanta where I was suffering from an hellacious spider bite. I asked the waiter if I could get a black tea bag and boiling water. He looked at me as though I had just stepped off the surface of Mars, when I explained that my Mother-in-Law-to-be had showed me how I could take a boiling hot tea bag and apply it to the bites to alleviate the pain/itch. (Yeah, it hurts, but it must open the pores enough to get some tannins in there b/c it works.) Anyhoo, the waiter said he had no tea bags but he'd be back with some bacon.
If I recall correctly there were a few beats of silence before we all started sniggering, thinking he was an idiot (I believe this is where I was also introduced to the phrase, "parts is parts..."). The waiter returned with several strips of bacon which he--no joke--scotch taped to my leg. There's photographic proof of this in one of Nancy's albums (and it worked for a bit!--thanks to Nancy for the photographic evidence...see below). That's the same night I took a picture of Nancy, Katie, and Thor. And that's the night Thor told Andrew it was okay with him if we got married.
Later, I managed to hunt Thor down in Croatia...Serbia...Kosovo I think...somewhere that was broken, that he was helping fix...and asked him if he would be able to make it to my husband's 40th birthday party. I fully expected an, "I'd love to, but..." response because, Dude...he was in Kosovo.
What I got was, "I wouldn't miss it for the world!"
He's the one who snuck upstairs with me to put ALL the candles on Andrew's cake. He's the one who carried it down dark and dangerous steps at Marie's Crisis
and presented it to Andrew (I was pretty largely pregnant at the time).
He's the one who could always make me laugh...generally inappropriately, but laugh a lot.
Anyway, like I said, there are plenty of hundreds of people who knew him better than me, but it's important to remember, right? It's important not just to be a Speaker For the Dead, but a Speaker OF the Dead. It's the only way he stays alive, yeah? In stories. In legends (but seriously, he did fall off Half Dome and took the stitches out at the party). And in our hearts.
And I fully expect to see a Facebook posting or get an email from him tomorrow saying,
"Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated..."
It would be like him...
And a perfectly Thor picture.