Sunday, May 17, 2009
Happy Birthday Pokey......
May 17th 1988 at about 3 am Micheal Eugene Phillips was born... he looked exactly like his father. He was promptly dubbed 'Pete" by his Grandma Barb. He would remain "Pete" until he was 3 yrs old. He came into the world quietly. He didn't cry, he just wanted to sleep. His quietness would not last long.. he made a very loud and lasting impression on every one who had the honor of having him touch their life.
From the time he could talk he showed a love of airplanes. He could spot them when they were just specks in the sky. He could also spot a Wendy's from a mile off in the dark. LOL Pokey loved aircraft. Especially military aircrafts. By the time he was 12 he could tell you what it was and the history of any military aircraft that ever flew. When Micheal was interested in something he became obsessed and learned all there was to know about it. History was his next love. He could not read enough of it. Not just the US side of history either. He read Russian, German, Japanese history also.
One of my favorite little kid memories of Micheal was when he was about 3. He came in from outside and ask if he could play with his tonka trucks in the dirt. I didn't think anything of it. Boys are suppose to play with their trucks in the dirt so I said yes. I didn't know the neighbor had left their hose running and the dirt was mud..lots of mud. A few minutes later I went to check on him and he was covered head to toe in this mud. He stopped and look like he was gonna get in trouble. But he instant brightened when I laughed and asked if he was having fun. "Yes mama".. he played in that mud for the next 2 hours. As happy and content as a kid can be. I remember thinking this was a moment that I wanted to never forget...and I haven't.
Micheal was the kind of person who hated bullies and it drove him nuts to see someone excluded unless they had treated people badly and deserved to be. So the new kid in school usually got taken under his wing and introduced to his friends. And Pokey had many friends. From every high school clique you can think of. He hung out with the football players, the "wrecking crew", the band geeks and the garage band crowds. Mostly though he hung out with the skateboarders. Cody in particular. I always blamed Cody for their escapades and Cody's mom always blame Pokey. Basically they were both very creative, shall we say, and fearless kids but didn't always think beyond the initial plan. The both join the military after graduation. Cody joined the Navy and is in Iraq right now. He volunteered... he said he owed it to Pokey. Another one of Micheal's inseparable friends was Mike. Mike was a year ahead of Micheal and had been in the Army for almost a year when Micheal left for boot camp. Mike is like a son to me. He is getting married in a few days. Now Mike and Micheal did their fair share of mischief too. There was no way you could be in the room with these boys and not have tears streaming from the laughter. They would make complete fools of themselves for a laugh. Micheal carried that talent to the Army. His men all independently have told me he would say or do just the right thing to make you laugh no matter how shitty the situation. He received a Distinguished Member of Regiment award for his ability to keep Morale up. I guess what I am trying to tell everyone is Micheal was a smile maker.
When I think about about Micheal and pull the memories out I just don't know which ones to share. There are so many. I remember him shooting bb guns at his grandpa's house when he was 8 or 9. Or him lining hot wheel cars up in perfect rows when he was a toddler. I remember the high school kid who was mad as heck he had to go to wal mart with Mom and Dad cause he got in trouble and I made him be my best friend and go every where I went. Arms crossed and head down pouting mad.. till his Dad grabs one of those fake fur rugs swung it around his shoulder yelled Captain Fur Cape and ran down the aisle.. sudden Pokey was laughing so hard he couldn't catch his breath. I know darn well the next time he went to wal mart with his friends he did the same thing. I remember the adult man who came home on leave and took my brand new car in the middle of the night to Dallas and called at 4 am because he was lost....I was furious. Not only that he took my car but that he called when there was GPS built into the dash. I remember being so mad at him till he put his head on my shoulder the next day and said " Are you mad mommy? don't be mad mommy" that look and that voice.. I couldn't stay mad. I remember the little boy who would crawl up in my lap and turn the pages to Mercer Meyers "All By Myself" book.
I remember the day he was born. The day we brought him home. The joy and love he brought to us. I remember how proud I was of him on the first day of school. So many smiles. So much love and laughter this one person brought to so many. For Micheal, life was a celebration. Today is his birthday.. He would have been 21. Old enough to finally drink a beer legally. Funny he was old enough to go to war but not drink a beer. So tonight I will go downtown and meet with others who knew and loved him. One of the local bar owners is opening up just for us and we will share our stories of how Pokey made us smile and laugh. We will celebrate him and how he touched so many lives. On this day I have made the choice to celebrate my son and his life...tomorrow I will go back to mourning him.
The funny thing about the last picture is his grandfather had absolutely no idea Pokey was behind him and we were all laughing and my dad had no idea why....