Last night when I read about Bison's passing, all I wanted to do was go to sleep and try to make it go away. But it didn't work. I didn't sleep a wink and this morning, nothing's changed... After reading Generico's story about our time with Bison however, I feel like sharing a little bit myself.
My first encounter with Bison Smith took place in March of 2009. ROH was running a double shot and it was particularly hard to leave the house for that one because my son Owen had been sick the whole night before my departure. As I left that morning, around 5 am, I left behind my son and my wife, both of them in terrible shape. It was the first time since birth that my son had been sick like this and it was pretty stressful for me to be leaving them in that state. Even after I got to St. Louis that day, I kept calling and nothing was getting better. I felt terrible.
I remember hanging up the phone, visibly upset after having spoken to my wife and hearing that my son had gotten sick several more times. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see this huge man with a blond mohawk who I'd never spoken to before but knew as Bison Smith. He had overheard my conversation and simply told me "It's gonna be fine dude...trust me this happens all the time!" That was the first thing he ever said to me. And from that point on, once in a while he'd come check on me and tell me "Everything's gonna be fine." I really appreciated him taking the time to do that for someone he didn't know at all and I took an instant liking to him.
That was reinforced later that night when the both of us were stuck in the van together outside of a bar because the rest of the boys wanted to go grab a drink before heading to the hotel. We proceeded to bitch and moan like children together about how unfair it was for us to be stuck in a parking lot while all we wanted to do was go get some rest. But that time in the van is one of my best memories from my time in ROH.
Then later came the road trip that El Generico wrote about last night. My wife was with us for the ride and she still talks to this day about how nice and sweet Bison Smith, as intimidating as he looked, really was. She shared my tears last night after I told her the news, even though she had only met him that one time. But Bison was such a good, kind man...you coudln't help but to like the guy.
I remember him telling us about his divorce and how hard it was...and he turned around to look at us in the back seat and told us "You guys better stay together, you hear me..." We shared stories about our kids, he showed us pictures of his son...he was so proud of him.
After that trip my wife often told me that she thought Bison and I were very similar in a lot of ways. And that always made me feel very proud.
When I got out of bed this morning, my heart filled with sadness, I looked outside and saw that it had snowed quite a bit during the night, the first snow for us here in Montreal...and I couldn't help but smile a little at the coincidence that my best memories of Bison come from driving with him through a blizzard.
It's crazy how some things happen in life...yesterday I was just thinking about him, wondering how he was doing, telling myself I had yet to find the time to listen to his podcast with Colt...well, today I find the time. And I can't wait to hear his voice again...
Bison Smith, you will be missed. You were one of the good ones...
You were THE MAN!