Tuesday, December 9, 2008


What is not so well known about Mike is his utter generosity and selfless gifting of “stuff” of a personal, professional and practical nature. It's almost like a spiritual path for him! Play it forward, I guess!

If, on one of my many, many visits to his home in Seattle, I showed the slightest interest in an object or piece of kit, he would insist I take it home with me! Over the years this has included a Howard Hill “Big Five” longbow and a small, fisherman's waterproof aluminum container (I added to my E&E kit). The Howard Hill bow I used to loose an arrow into the Hollywood Hills on my wedding day for good luck. Yeah! Thanks for that one Mike! I'd have had better off attempting to catch the arrow in my teeth for all the luck it brought that evening…But that's another story.

I also remember being impressed with a single-piece, drop-point, Dawson knife and innocently expressed it was the perfect size and shape for a practical survival knife. That was it! He insisted the knife went home with me and I have prided myself on the memories and stories attached to the gifts Mike has generously “forced” on me over the years and how they now have their own fond memories and enduring places in my life.

The Dawson knife was strapped to my webbing for a good few years and still lives in my ancient Berghaus “Crusader” Bergen, to this day. The most notable memory attached to that particular Grell gift was being told to remove the Dawson from my chest-webbing by a tired and emotional CSM on an exercise somewhere near Rheindahlen in Germany, as it could be considered and offensive weapon by the Military Police!

As I was actually carrying a Sterling Sub-Machinegun and a Browning Hi-Power strapped to various body-parts, it seemed rather redundant at the time. But as we only had 9mm blanks for our weapons on exercise, and I didn't want to frighten the natives, I complied with the order! (I actually liked the Sterling SMG and was sad to see it replaced by the early and poorly executed: SA80. Known affectionately as “The Spring Loaded Club,” the Sterling SMG could be folded and stuffed into ones webbing for convenience, while trying to sleep in the back of a half-ton Land Rover.) The Dawson though, still comes with me on my odd, solitary sojourns to The Mojave Desert and Deep-Creek Hot Springs.

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