I don't know very much about Mike Maloney, when I really think about it.
I know he was taller than me. "Six feet tall in cowboy boots", I heard once. I know he wore flannel shirts and denim, and Carhart jackets in the winter. I know he sometimes wore "dog tags", a holdover from his army days.
I know he had the camper - a trailer - on the edge of the wilderness and civilization, fittingly. It was on a road who's name escapes me, but I could drive you there today. It had an ice cream shop next door, and a "bait and tackle" shop. I know he liked jalepeno poppers, and vanilla ice cream. And I know he liked coffee, because he always had a gigantic thermos full of it.
I know he wasn't very religious, but I know he was a baptized Catholic, his baptism happening on the same day as Joe, at the urging of my mom and probably her family.
I know he was skeptical of many things, and resistant to authority.
I know he was born on March 13, 1948. I know he was born to Phyllis and Bob, a devoted and hardworking mother and an absentee father. I know he had an older sister, and two nieces and two nephews.
I know he was a smoker, and an occasional (frequent?) drug user. I know he was an alcoholic, who spent years on and off the wagon, and time in and out of treatment.
I know he went to Roosevelt Elementary, the same grade school that I would attend for Kindergarten through the sixth grade.
I know he raised hell after Vietnam, hitchiking across the country, chasing freedom and adventure and salve for his wounds.
I know he burned incense, patchouli and I know he loved "Indian Blankets".
I know he had a green thumb, as he had small herb garden on the front step of his camper. He had rosemary, and sage, and recently I wondered what other green leafy plant he may have grown...
I know he drove a truck, for a while, and then a Rabbit I think.
I don't know if he was right handed or left handed. I don't know if he was political or voted. I don't know if he liked Mexican food as much as his sons and I do. I don't know if he liked to rock out to country or oldies or something else entirely. I don't know what he liked to do in his spare time. I don't know if he was handy, or artistic, or musical. I don't know what he wanted to be when he grew up. I don't know if he read the daily paper. I don't know where he dreamed about traveling, or what was on his bucket list.
All that I know about him can fit in on a piece of paper. A handful of facts, bullet points really.
I know that he loved us, and that we were the greatest loves of his life.
And today, on what would have been his 65th birthday, that counts for something. And maybe it counts for everything, or at least everything that still matters.