Lost track of an old buddy a few years ago and I have been wondering what might have become of him. His name is/was John "Mayday" Malone and he scared the shit out of me.
When I first met Mayday at Guide School he wasn't as terrifying. He appeared to have come straight from an Orvis Catalog; wind proof hair, perfectly pressed Logo shirt, high end rain jacket even on nice days and a face that kindly accepted the largest pair of Cocoons sold. He was a 70's Fly Fisherman avatar in a fully loaded vest......exactly what you would sketch if you needed a trout guide cartoon character. He was polite and honestly charming with a knack for making you listen every time he rambled, even if it sounded exactly like yesterdays poop.
"Guy shook em off all day Bobby"
Perry gave him the boot one year and he somehow got a gig at Elktrout for the summer. I'm sure looking like Mr LL Bean in Barbour slacks helped them decide to skip the back ground check. He eventually migrated back to us and his rock below Wolcott where they climb. He's not there anymore but I'm sure his boot prints are. I smile when I float past.
No one was sure exactly how he came to be in the Eagle Valley, he just appeared one day. According to Mayday he used to be a golf pro in Fla and a fishing guide back in PA. The only place he really considered home was a small hunting cabin somewhere in western PA, it wasn't until the end of his days in Colorado we learned he was actually from Ohio. Everything was a bit mysterious with the old fella. He had very few friends, no family to mention, an ex wife with no legs and he was supposedly Ray"Boom Boom" Mancinis Cousin. He had a post office box but cashed most of his checks and never signed a lease, which made us all think he escaped something. He slept a lot of places including some crazy Irishman's basement, his truck, expensive motels, several couches and the fly shop floor over the years. Everyone extended a hand to Mayday, at least in the beginning, before it started to feel like you were just buying him another round. He never had a problem finding people who genuinely cared, a holiday meal or a place to stay until the Booze started pushing him around real hard.
I had some "things" going on in my life and I guess he thought it might be OK if his life went into flames at the same time. My misery wasn't looking for company and my patience level was the door man so it was hard to get equal playing time, but this sweet old man was part of the family and needed help. Watching someone in their 60's sell all their worldly possessions (which fit in part of an old Jeep Cherokee) was sobering enough, seeing him chase nitro pills with a Budweiser made me think clearly about tightening things up (or trying to). I honestly would close my eyes at night and think to myself that could be me and if I am not careful I might be the one "watching the shop for the night." I would hate to hurt his feelings if he is still around, I doubt he has one of these "machines" (his flip phone was gremlin enough),but his hot mess started to help me out of mine.
It's been a couple of years now since I last heard from John; I wonder about him often, even calling his cell now and again. Drunk or not he never let our friendship wobble, he supported me no matter in some dark times, which is more than I can say for a few of my "good friends" in Colorado.The last time I saw him was the day my Dad drove him to the bus station in Vail. He had tickets to his hometown, Youngstown Ohio and a treatment program to get the demon out. I know he checked in and 3 months later checked out and then disappeared. Some people around here want to know he's all good, so if you are a dry cleaner in the PA/OH area and you read this crap, please keep an eye out for a nice old fella who might come in to have his rain jacket pressed.......tell him to give me a call, Karma misses him.
There are 9024 pictures on this hard drive and not one of Mr Malone, if anyone from back in the day has a picture of Mayday send it to me so the FBI can have something to go on.