That’s because a dear friend, a virtual friend, a person I’ve never met, someone I didn’t “know,” IRL, but who (as they used to say about Princess Diana) I’m pretty sure knew me, died under inexpressibly sudden and horrible circumstances at about 9AM on Tuesday morning.
He’s known to our Ricochet community as “Boss Mongo” and to the world at large as Lt. Col. W. Brendan Welsh, US Army Special Forces (Ret). And now that some details about plans for his funeral are emerging, and as others are writing about his life elsewhere, I finally feel it’s not an invasion of family privacy to mention him here.
I’ll do so by posting several comments I wrote on a Ricochet member feed (behind the paywall) post. They’re my comments, I own them, they perfectly express my thoughts on this wonderful man, so here they are:
In response to a remark that “drink” might be therapeutic and necessary:
You’re not quite a day late, but, in any event, a dollar short. I’ve already started. Somewhere in the past several years I made a comment to the effect that “it’s 5 o-clock somewhere” and therefore time for a drink, and Boss’s almost immediate response had something to do with his “breakfast.”
Underneath it all, such a very kind man.
In response to one of the many comments about missed opportunities:
Yeah. Try not to do that. Life is short. And unpredictable. I know. I used to joke with Boss that–when it came down to it–I’d rather meet [“The Lovely and Talented Mrs. Mongo”] than himself. And now, I guess, I must put that to the test. I hope that, one day, I’ll be lucky enough to meet the woman who made life worthwhile for a man for whom I have the highest respect. She must be really special.
A quote from Sir Walter Scott (which made it to a post here):
Soldier, rest! thy warfare o’er,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking:
Dream of battled fields no more,
Days of danger, nights of waking.–Sir Walter Scott
In response to a comment about “a good man,”
Yeah. He was. Shared a bit of that with me when I was at a really low point [on Ricochet] myself. If the term “an officer and a gentleman” had any meaning, it might have been coined for Boss Mongo.
On a comment relating the hope that, over time, we’d share more “Boss” stories with each other:
I hope so. When the horror and sadness have passed (that may take a while). At the moment, I find myself able to smile at a “Boss” characterization of someone intent on rendering me a non-person [on Ricochet] which most of you would find NSFW, if not actually just plain vulgar. I can’t reprint Boss’s comment on the person here. But the mere fact that Boss found me defensible, charming, “outstanding” (and that means a lot), and supportable kept me going.
And I’ll never forget that.
A comment which I made, at my own instigation, and which I fear may have some eerie prescience:
I finally plucked up the courage to read one of Boss’s posts. This one: The Welsh Boys Hit The Emerald Isle. I chose it because I really loved it at the time, and because I thought I remembered that, outside the confines of the trip, a bit of Boss’s family history was revealed early in the story, and it is. And perhaps it’s, if not an explanation, at least an indicator. That sort of indicator ran very strongly in Mr. [Right’s] family.
I am really going to miss his posts and his stories.
Lastly, in response to a comment remarking that only those truly comfortable in their own skin and with their own abilities can adequately manage self-effacement, empathy, and modesty:
Indeed. Several who’ve mentioned meeting Boss over the years have commented on his reticence in making the meeting, or the conversation, “all about him” and his achievements and accomplishments. Only the truly self-confident, those who don’t need constant validation of their worth and unceasing and repetitious praise from the peanut gallery, can do that.
Pretty sure that, first among all, Boss knew he wasn’t perfect. And I’m not sure anyone here is holding him up as such. But what a character, what a personality, what a storyteller, what a patriot, what a dog-lover, what a family man, what a gentleman, and what a role model.
Yes, the elements were mixed in him. But does anyone doubt that
… Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, THIS WAS A MAN!–Julius Caesar
I’m pretty sure Boss is embarrassed as hell right about now. And I’m only glad that I, and so many others here, didn’t wait till Boss had left us before we said many of these same things to him and to each other about him. The only difference right now is in the concentration of the outpouring, which is caused by universal shock and grief. Inevitable, natural, and, IMHO, necessary and right.
My heart, thoughts, and prayers go with Boss Mongo, his brothers in service to their country, his friends, and–above all–the family he loved so much.
Here’s a post from Boss which I really loved: Rush Limbaugh: Marconi’s Titan. It was picked up by the Limbaugh Institute, and included in the Limbaugh Letter, right around the time Rush died.
And a post of standalone “fiction,” (others of which encompassed several posts) some of which I hope others will make strenuous efforts to bring to publication: The Nanny.
The “Vindman” post. LOL.
And, a dog-lover post. How much I loved these: When the Big Dog Can’t Get Off The Porch. As a mom with two Great Pyrenees, aged 10 and 11 (a great age for such large dogs), I’m struggling too. Xena (age 10) has–I think–doggie dementia. Levi, age 11, has difficulty getting to his feet without what I call (in a term he recognizes) a “boost.” A “boost” means that I bend over, link my arms underneath him at the wrist (because it’s too painful to do it anywhere else) and haul his back end to his feet. Since he weighs about 140lbs, it’s a substantial undertaking on both our parts. But, as long as he keeps responding, I’ll keep doing it.
Because, life. And because he’s a member of my family.
Anyone who’d like to read more of Boss’s oeuvre can go here. Some of his posts weren’t promoted to the main feed, and remain behind the paywall, if you’d like to view them, you’ll just have to subscribe here. (It’s worth it. Trust me.)
God bless, Boss. I consider you a member of my family.
Here’s the actual “Last Post.” For Boss: