MJE lost a great friend last week, my pal, sterno. And yes MJE DOES have friends, some. But it’s not a very deep bench so when one of them isn’t here anymore it’s sort of like losing a continent. “What the what, where the hell did Australia go?” The world just doesn’t seem quite right.

There’s a hole in it.

Sterno was an amazing guy, and not just because his hair came into the room a full ten seconds before the rest of him. Word is he used to light firecrackers in it in college, but I could be wrong. He was one of those glass half full people (not the annoying kind) but not just half full, I’m talking filled to the top (with Bud Light would be my guess). Now MJE knows that not every one of sterno’s days was a day at the beach on the redneck riviera but he sort of made you imagine that it could be. And he was a walk the walk (or limp the hike) kind of guy…every day was the perfect day for hitting the trail or the river or bayou. Sterno had more kayaks than the OB&C has egg poachers (what can I say, he had an egg poacher thing for awhile). He would jam the back of his bad ass macho truck with those kayaks, and paddles and life vests and refreshments and sunscreen and bug spray and any other thing anyone might need, and that was that. All the work was done, just have to enjoy.

He’d lead hikes all over the mountains too, probably to a lot of places he’d really seen enough of, for people he didn’t even know or probably want to, most of whom didn’t appreciate it either. And no hiker on any of sterno’s treks ever got lost (well, maybe a time or two, but some people just can’t follow directions) or left behind. Sterno was like a  brood hen with her chicks; the old, the lazy, the slow walkers, the cell phone talkers, the country clubbers, the low lifes, even the wine drinkers, for god’s sake, (and that last bunch is a handful I can tell you) he kept track of them all.

Then there were the good deeds (not the annoying kind)…trail tending, cooking up a storm for righteous causes, bird watcher watching, and plenty more that MJE doesn’t even know about, and frankly can’t imagine because I don’t do that altruistic stuff.

Sterno’s wonderful wife jellybean (who normally behaves in a sterling fashion, except there was that one time the OB&C and MJE got her snockered at our oyster party and she fell asleep in the grocery parking lot on the way home) is gonna have a rough time, but she’s a pretty tough cookie, and unlike MJE, her friend bench is loaded.

So good bye sterno, dear friend, MJE’s world is literally darker without you.