My good friend and longtime Surly-and-before coworker Nick has left town and left Surly. He's moving to Portland, Oregon, on the northleft coast of America, Inc. I have known him for almost 16 years, worked side by side with him to help make Surly into whatever it is for the last 8 or so. Nick and I were among the people who started meeting for night rides wednesdays at Lake Harriet way back in the day. The other night being Wednesday a bunch of people came out to howl at the moon and send Nick off in local high style. Brauer and Gene have been lamenting lately the listing, staggering, demise of the WNR as it wheezes its rattling last breaths with deep sea diver sounds but this night it looked and behaved much like it had in its salad daze, a winding dragon whipping its tail as it poured into and out of alleys, actual trails and impromptu ones that may have included a few lawns, snapping people at the end loose one by one. There was beer and flasks of whiskey and a full bottle of Cazadores tequila, which everyone managed to finish off (not without some prodding). Eventually we found ourselves at the home of some other friends, where we arranged the vegetables in their kitchen into sculptures depicting male genitalia, then repaired to their spacious back acre for a small fire. Many stories of Nick were shared and love poured forth. As we mellowed, small groups began peeling off for home. After all the other people had gone, it was down to me, Nick, Brauer and Grayboy. We talked for quite a while and Figured It All Out and finally, when the corners of heaven began to wink on with the faintest purple of dawn we started for home. First we tucked in Brauer to his bed on the kitchen floor of Hobo Hurl's Home For Wayward Youth. The three of us continued on, but Dave soon turned off toward his part of town. I ended up on a quiet night ride with one of my oldest friends, someone I have ridden with more than almost anyone else on this planet. We met each other riding around at night in Minneapolis. I rode Nick to where he was staying, his wife's sister's house in my part of the city, where they've been staying since their house sold. We chatted, hugged, said goodbye, and I rolled home, walking in at 6:22am.
Nick, this one's for you.