Dennis did not waste his turn. He was a man’s man, which made him a woman’s man by default. He was a hunter and a skeet shooter. Dennis was more than that, he was an outdoorsman in every sense of the word. He possessed the gear, and the knowledge to use it. He had a big, old, homely black lab during the time that I spent in his company. I can’t remember the animal’s name but it was devoted to Dennis and he to it.
He wore L.L. Bean apparel before it became fashionable to preppy co-eds. He was particularly attractive in the green and classic chamois shirts he favored. He wore Ray Ban Wayfarers. He read, a lot, I recall being interested in his interest in Carlos Castaneda. He loved music and he sang expressively with the albums that he liked; the Doobie Brothers come to mind, as does the Stones album Some Girls.
He was tall and broad, a big solid person, comfortable in his body. He was equally adept at dancing and throwing a strategic punch. The last two knuckles on his right hand were a bit flat from forceful impacts. His nose was faintly wonky from a well-landed punch but that small flaw was overshadowed by a brilliant smile that made his hazel-green eyes sparkle in contagious joie de vivre. He was handsome and he had red hair.
His sense of humor was sublime. There was a party at our barber friend’s house. His living quarters were behind his barber shop. Dennis’s cousin, David, left the party to take a short nap in the barber chair. Poor, tired, unsuspecting David. Dennis tried to wake him but he was fast asleep. While David slept, Dennis shaved the left side of his big, bushy beard and mustache off. It was tremendously funny and not at all mean-spirited.
Dennis was the older brother to two younger sisters. The three siblings were very close; they were friends along with being family. His mother was widowed when the kids were still young so Dennis became the man of the family. He understood the benefits of hard work from laboring in a pulp mill all of his adult life.
Women loved him. I imagine he learned a lot about them from growing up in a female dominated household. He was charming and attentive. He was married and divorced twice; a father to a handful of kids. Dennis was so much fun that it doesn’t seem the women in his life could hold a grudge when the dance was over.
Better than 30 years ago, before people routinely tattooed their bodies, he commissioned a tattoo on his hind-quarter, a star. For a while that’s what he was called, Star. In a lot of ways that’s what he was.