Mike Buzzeo could cook. Anyone who got to know Mike, usually found themselves at Mike and Cheri's house, where there was always a pot of something cooking on the stove with Mike hovering over it. I'm sure I'm not the only one who told Mike he should open his own restaurant. Mike would tell you about the restaurant where he worked as a kid, and learned where all the prime cuts of meat came from on the cow. He was always tinkering with something in the kitchen, whether it be creating his own super hot spice mix, or figuring out how to duplicate the Green Mill's Desert Fire Pasta. Go in the backyard and he'd be smoking his own beef, and if you came over for guy's night, there would be beef or chili waiting for you on the stove. He loved his grill, and even though sometimes he might forget to flip something, even his burned barbecue tasted great. The last time I saw Mike we snacked on stuffed peppers he had just grilled.
Like me, Mike was an Italian, which are not easy to find here in Norwegian-sota. Although when I told him I didn't like green olives, Mike had his doubts about my heritage. Well Mike, just to please you, I've started eating Green Olives. Cheri, Sharon, Mike and I liked going to new restaurants in St. Cloud and the Twin Cities to check things out. Mike also liked a good movie...we went to Eden Prairie to see "The Artist" in February.
Mike could also act, and he sure fooled us. This handsome, charming bear of a man, born on the 4th of July, made us all think things were going fine...a beautiful wife, a solid job with Diane whom I know he greatly loved, respected and admired, and a job with the other love of his life, RC Airplanes. He was looking forward to the big show this weekend in Toledo. Mike could also direct, and many, here in this room have had the pleasure to act under the direction of Mike, whose humour and wisdom made all those hours spent at the Barn a lot of fun. Mike got me involved with the Barn, acting with him and Cheri and son Jason in Breakfast with Les and Bess. He also encouraged me to try my hand at directing. And we knew Mike could dance, and he sure danced like a star with Cheri last month.
Mike...you left us wanting more...I turn 50 next month, and I was counting on you to help me celebrate. Your buddy Steve Gralish has a Christmas train to finish. You were the "cool grampa" for your grandchildren." We had lots more Trivial Pursuit and Cranium to play. We were all going to go to New York City together. You gave me a computer simulator so I could learn to fly an rc plane over the winter...Mike...I think I'm ready now...we were going to go fly the new plane you were going to give me. I have a lot more funny emails to send you, and get from you. We had more politics to talk about, just when I'd learned not to mention George W. Bush to you. I can't wait to see you again, Mike, because we have a lot more to talk about.
Mike, you pushed yourself away from table while there was still a lot left on your plate...and that's something that never happened when you were doing the cooking.