This week the South Florida Hashers lost one of their dear friends. Ocean Pig (I think) – or OP as he was known to most of us – or Paul Lewis as he was known to his family – lived a hard life. But I believe deep in his heart he was a good guy. I am sad, and I will miss him. A Who’s-Who of South Florida Hashing came out to pay their respects, and each one of them had an OP story. For those who did or did not know OP, I thought it would be appropriate to share some OP stories that will make you laugh. He always made me laugh.
According to my t-shirt, the 1st Annual South Park Hash was back in 1999. It poured – I mean it freaking poured. So when we got to a canal-crossing it was a serious swim. And to boot, there was a cop on the other side of the canal waiting for us. But the cop wasn’t waiting for us – he was laughing at us and talking it up with OP. They were both Marines, the cop mostly thought we were idiots running in the rain and playing “Kick the Baby” in the parking lot. OP and the cop led a round of “Halls of Montezuma” to honor the Corp it was one of those moments that makes Hashing like no other sport/social/whatever.
One of the first conversations I had with OP was late, late, late in the evening at the original Blarney World near the infamous Charlie’s. (If you didn’t ever make it to Charlie’s, you *really* need to ask someone for some stories.) We were discussing Hashers, inmates, and schools. It was the first time I noted that OP was a little “animated” when he talked. If you knew him, you know what I mean.
OP once told me that he ran the NY Marathon. He claimed that along the way he got bored and stopped for a six-pack in Harlem to finish during the race.
OP told me he did photography in the military. To teach depth-of-field, he lined up beer bottles and a bottle of Jack Daniels to focus on each one separately. Apparently the military didn’t take too kind to this subject matter, but found him artistic… ;p
OP was famous for showing up places – good or bad. He knew where our season tickets were in the Orange Bowl for UM Hurricane games. He would always show up somewhere in the 3rd quarter with at least 2 beers under his shirt. We never knew how he got in, he didn’t have a ticket. Or how he got there, he didn’t have a car. But he was there for almost every game. He would tell us stories of when his son was born and getting security guards to let him in and take him to the 50 yard line for a photo shoot with “The city of Miami welcomes you to the Orange Bowl” lighting up the back. OP made a lot of friends.
The sweetest thing that OP ever did was get me a t-shirt. I guess the Hummer dealership had printed some UM Hurricane shirts that say HUMMER across the front. Since my Hash name is Silver Hummer and I love Hurricane football, somehow, someway, he got one for me. And told me about it for at least a year – “oh man, I forgot. If I had known you would be here….” But damn, one day he actually brought it to the Hash and gave it to me. This may not seem like much, but for a guy with questionable living conditions I considered this a big gesture. I still wear it to this day.
I couldn’t find this photo in my hashing album, although all the other ones from that day are there (Mango Strut – ’05 or ’06). I’m pretty sure that I gave it to OP one of the last times I saw him. At least it makes me feel better to think I did. I’ll miss you, OP.