What do you do when,..
On a Sunday morn, real early, a frantic call from a good friend. He has just heard you had died.
Yep, Mike Hammond of Honiara fame passed away last week and was buried Saturday.
Now Mike and I shared similar names, which, in a small pond like the Solomons, inevitably led too much fun-filled confusion.
I was first confused with/ by Mike when a policeman saw me in the street, walked up and in island fashion took my hand and started telling me all the stuff that had been stolen from my island was ready to collect. The policeman was effusive and very friendly. I smiled, nodded and got my hand back so I could depart. I did not have a clue what the fellow was talking about.
Then I was told, when I was in Gizo, that I did the right thing by beating the coon-dawn-shit outta some white guy that was a con and a jerk. I supposedly whooped the guy at the Yacht Club ion a Saturday night in Honiara. I was in Gizo.
Then, when my sons were going to school in a small farming community in central Queensland I came to be friendly with a family who, after s short period, confided that they had mixed me up with “another Mike from the Solomon’s” who kept a babe in the house down the street form them. Until they had sorted this out they were very suspect of me and my natural intentions.
Eventually I met Mike Hammond in the Yacht Club. He was a proper Queenslander. A good storyteller. A bit of bad-ass and trouble maker. Some loved him, some hated him. I just got confused with him.
Mike was well into his 60s but fit and healthy. He smoked like a chimney and drank daily in the club. He ran a fishing charter business out of the club so it was his office so he was there pretty much all the time.
Over the past number of years Mike and I would joke about the mix-ups. I always said, “…don’t confuse that ugly old man with crooked teeth and a small dick with me…” being a rude yank I said this to Mike, jokingly of course, and we’d both enjoy the camaraderie of confusion.
So Hans is frantic Sunday morning. Calling trying to get my family up on a sleep-in day, etc., etc. He eventually got hold of Grace here in Oz.
I do thank Hans for being such a good friend. It is touching and funny all the same.
So, there you go, a great way to start a Sunday morn…