Today is my friend Daniel McAteer’s thirty seventh birthday.
This is a picture of Daniel looking very cool.
When I first met Daniel, I thought, although I knew, that I could have given birth to this man. My eldest son Nicholas Jordan Ettinger Ravel is six years younger than Daniel McAteer.
Daniel & I met during my most recent sojourn in the offshore industry. Actually, I heard about him several weeks before we met in person.
A clerk working for my company’s client sent me an email, telling me that Daniel needs this information in this format, blah, blah, blah.
I went to my supervisor & asked her who the hell is this Daniel & why do I need to send him information?
My boss told me she knew nothing about a Daniel & perhaps I should send the clerk a note, with my title & ask who the hell is this Daniel character.
Whatever I wrote, whomever my boss spoke to about Daniel, his boss, Graham Copperwaithe, asked me to a meeting in the shipyard in Sabine Pass or Orange, Texas – some shipyard town on the Gulf Coast, to meet with Daniel & coordinate an information exchange. I have been trying since the beginning of this project to get Daniel onboard, Graham told me, but he was on another project & Daniel does not leave until the job is done.
I loved Graham Copperwaithe. I loved the silly, funny nicknames he called his wife. I loved his honesty when we spoke of what it is like to work your life in the offshore industry. I loved that he never told anyone anything more about the Saturday he & were the only people at the Songa Offshore USA offices when he saw me deposit goodies bags for Mother’s Day on my co-workers desks than: There was a lot of activity that day.
There was a lot of activity that Saturday before Mother’s Day – I instinctively checked my email & the fax machine. There was a fax for Graham. The last page was the first page I saw:
Fuck you, Graham.
So I met Daniel in a trailer conference room (those who have never been to a shipyard probably cannot envision a conference room in a trailer but there are double & triple wide trailers in the oil business.)
Of course, since he called it, Daniel conducted the meeting. He needed something from each one at the table, everyone needed something from everyone else & we all needed something from Daniel.
At the end of the meeting, every person of the table left believing that they got everything they came for – including myself.
And Daniel got everything on his list from everyone at the tale.
I remember watching Daniel as he gathered his things from the table & thinking, grasshopper, you just wove us all into the tapestry you wanted. I write that now, but I think at the time I thought, Fuckin’ well done, Daniel.
It was masterful.
In my memory, I think that Daniel knew that I understood exactly what, that he was leaving the conference table victorious & that everyone else at the table felt the same victory.
I clearly remember, looking at him & thinking, this man just read my mind.
Daniel is a man who called me dearest with affection; a man who loves his wife, Kelly, & his mother, & his sister & his sister’s children. A man who wears a kilt with pride. A man who got married on a mountain top with a helicopter instead of a limo as the get way transportation.
A man whose voice I still hear when he posts on Facebook – although in the past his accent, so deeply imbedded with his soul in Scotland, more than once baffled me after too many sips of Scotch.
Daniel McAteer turned 37 today. I could have given birth to him. Instead, I have been given the privilege of knowing him.
Daniel & his wife Kelly, who I believe is his soul mate, have plans for when they leave their current gig in Singapore.
Daniel & Kelly are taking a year & then some to travel the world. A grand adventure all their followers hope to share in pictures & blurbs from across the globe.
As do I. Although I am hoping that one of them, or each of them, or together – I am hoping for a journal. A chronicle to answer the question: Where in the world are Dan & Kelly McAteer?
So, on this day, Daniel McAteer’s 37th Birthday, on the eve of the next great exploration in his life, I say: Well done, my friend. Hold tight to Kelly & keep the adventure alive.
And if you & Kelly find yourselves in Texas during the next year, find me. And remember to call me dearest. Happy Birthday, Daniel.