I met Tony when I was in the eighth grade.
|Tony, his sister Vickie, and yours truly|
and a new family moved in next door to us. We used to have crab apple trees everywhere and out back there was this new kid throwing fallen crab apples at his brother.
Ah, he's a southpaw, I thought.
And that's my first memory of my best friend.
My dad was an officer in the Air Force, his dad was an officer in the Army and our mothers were best friends.
We used to sleep outside as kids and we would wait for Tony to fall asleep. After he did, all of us would lay our heads on him because he was softer than our sleeping bags. He'd wake up to find us all sleeping on him.
That right there did not endear us to him.
When I was in tenth grade Tony moved out to Crownsville and his family built a house. We followed suit.
I can remember all of the McEwens in the car as my dad pulled up to our tree filled lot, and announced, "Here we are! Whaddya think?"
It looked like the woods and I thought my parents didn't love us anymore.
After they cleared the trees and built our home, I grew up there.
With my best friend right down the street.
When I went to LA to do stand up, and starved, I really looked forward to talking to Tony. I told him I was coming home and hoped to get into radio. I'll never forget what he said, "Don't worry, I've got a job waiting for you."
He did and before I knew it I was on the air.
Turn about is fair play, and when 98ROCK in Baltimore asked me if I knew someone who could be on the air, I told them about Tony.
He got me my first job in radio, I got him his first job in radio.
Mrs. Colter is Doreen.
Doreen is from New York and had moved down to Maryland.
Tony met her in high school and like they do in cartoons, his eyes had stars in them. He was smitten. Tony chased her and chased her and chased her.
He finally caught her, asked Doreen to marry him and she said yes. And he asked me to be his Best Man.
It was one of the best days ever.
They have a daughter named Karley and I'm her godfather. I always tell her I knew she was Karley before Karley knew she was Karley.
She came to New York to visit and I was heading west to interview NSYNC. Her first jet ride followed, alongside me, and on that ride Karley pulled out all of her NSYNC CDs. She had one that was only available as an import from Japan.
When we got to NSYNC, I mentioned a song on that import and one of the members, Chris Kirkpatrick, said, "No one ever mentions that song or that CD."
They sang the song a cappella and we got it all on camera.
That's ratings gold and it happened because of Karley.
A few more things about Tony and me.
We like the same kind of music. We both love ketchup. Heinz, thank you very much.
We've been laughing at the same jokes for a long, long, time.
We also enjoy each other's company. Big time.
Tony was there when my twins were born. They know him now as Uncle Tony but when they were younger he was Uncle Jelly Belly.
I came out of my bedroom once to find them climbing up his chair, to be swooped up by him, and gently swung down to the floor. Miles and Griffin were laughing the whole time, squealing, "Again, Again!"
Tony looked at me and said with a smile, "We've been doing this for awhile, now."
These days you can hear Tony on Sirius/XM, satellite radio. He's on two channels. Watercolors (smooth jazz on channel 66) and BB King's Bluesville (blues, of course, on channel 70). Since he's nationwide, I can hear him down here in Florida and I'm mighty fine with that.
Cool. Cool. Cool.
They say wine gets better with age. So has our friendship.
Better and deeper.
As Tony says, "Brothers from different mothers." I couldn't agree more.
Subscribe to my blog: Mark McEwen's World
Follow me on twitter: @mcewenmark
Like my page on facebook: www.facebook.com/markmcewensworld
And also visit my website: www.markmcewen.com