It was late. Practice was late as we readied to meet our cross-county rival’s.
Remi’s Mom had invited Lou and me over for dinner and to spend the night so we could finish our science project which was also due tomorrow. After a pasta and sauce dinner Remi, our quarterback both on the football field and in our science lab, led us to the basement to finish our small homemade blimp. Remi was deciding between MIT and Yale both with full academic scholarship. He knew more about science than the rest of our class combined. He also threw a helluva pass!
Sweet Lou James played left tackle. At 6’9″ and 290 he was the largest human being we had ever known. He was also the nicest. Sweet was a nickname but completely descriptive, except on the football field. He was a man among boys but did not let that stop him from competing. His size and play had landed him a full ride at Ohio State.
Mrs. Remington had to shoo him out of the kitchen after dinner because he was trying to clean up and do dishes. “Go get that project done, you boys need sleep!” was her scold.
Lou had to bob and weave in the basement between the beams but the job got done. Now it was time for bed.
Remi didn’t have to show us the guest room. We knew where it was as we had stayed often over the years. As always the twin beds had the covers turned down and fresh flowers graced the antique dresser. We laid awake for a bit talking until Remi had had enough and went to his room. The whole time we were in there Lou was fiddling with a piece of paper.
It was over two years ago that we spent that night at Remi’s. I was back in town and wanted to say hi to Mrs. R. Remi was at school but she brought me into her home like a family member. I could see the tired eyes that held a certain disbelief. We all were still in some stage of grief. When Mrs. R went in the kitchen to get me a drink I glanced through the open door of the guest room. As per usual the fresh flowers were there. Next to them was a paper airplane of sorts. It looked like what Lou had been working on that night. Curious I had to have a look.
The note read: “You’re the best Mrs. R! Thanks.”
They said it was a heart defect that stole Sweet Lou James. The biggest man I ever would know.