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A moving picture became a buddy film ... with a sequel

“Shouldn’t take too long,” he said, reading the hesitancy in my voice. “You’ve been to my house … it’s not that big and I don’t have much stuff. I’m calling all the guys. Couple hours.”

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I expected to find the whole gang waiting and the house filled with a maze of moving boxes.

Wrong on both counts.

“Where’s Jeff?” I asked.

“Softball tournament,” my friend Mitch said.

“Mikey?”

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“Some family thing.”

“How about Rick?”

“Drove his wife to the hospital … she’s having a baby!”

Man, some guys will do anything to get out of helping a friend move.

“Vince?”

“He never called me back.”

And that’s when it dawned on me: “So it’s just … “

“… you and me, buddy!” he said with a goofy smile.

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We weren’t going to be done by noon …

“What are you doing Saturday?” Mitch asked when he called on Tuesday night. The open-ended question should have made me suspicious.

“Nothing,” I said. “Why?”

“I’m moving to a new place. Could you help?”

“Um … see, I was …”

“Shouldn’t take too long,” he said, reading the hesitancy in my voice. “You’ve been to my house … it’s not that big and I don’t have much stuff. I’m calling all the guys. Couple hours.”

“Well … “

“Pizza when we’re done!”

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If helping a friend wasn’t incentive enough, pizza was. “Sure,” I said. “Who’s all coming?”

“You’re the first one I called!”

It was probably too late to claim an old football injury. “What time?”

“Eight o’clock,” he said, adding a guarantee: “We’ll be done by noon, tops!”

When I got to Mitch’s place on Saturday morning I thought I’d gotten my days mixed up; a street that should have been lined with cars was empty. Mitch pushed the door open before I could knock, and I stepped into a living room that looked the way it always did.

“Beer?”

A googly-eyed cat clock was swishing its tail against the living room wall. 8:03.

“Maybe later,” I said. “Where is everyone?”

“You and me, buddy,” he said after explaining why no one else was there. I revised Mitch’s guarantee: six o’clock, tops.

“Do you have a truck?” I asked.

“I was hoping we could use Rick’s truck,” he said. Then, with a smile: “It’s probably at the hospital!”

“Well, I guess between your car and mine we can probably move the small stuff,” I said. I had no idea how we’d move the couch. And the bed. And the kitchen table. And …

“I’ll pull my car into the driveway,” I said.

“Before you do that,” he interrupted, “we need to drive over to HyVee to see if they have any boxes.”

I suddenly realized why the house looked so … normal.

“You haven’t PACKED yet?”

“No!” he said. “That’s why I called the guys … to help me move.”

“PACKING and MOVING are two different things, Mitch! I thought we were just going to drive a bunch of boxes over to your new place.”

“We are!” he said. “After we pack them!”

I revised my revision: a week from Wednesday, tops.

The couch ended up on the boulevard with a “Free!!!” sign taped to it; the bed was tied to the top of Mitch’s car and the kitchen table was taken apart and shoe-horned into my back seat. And we actually finished the move around 3:30.

Sunday afternoon.

The pizza was excellent, I finally had that beer, and Rick’s wife had a beautiful baby girl.

And the next time I need help moving, the first call goes to Mitch.

Dan Conradt, a lifelong Mower County resident, lives in Austin with his wife, Carla Johnson.

Related Topics: PEOPLEDAN CONRADT
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