I can’t say goodbye in Swahili

The 80’s were a different time, as evidenced by this perfectly acceptable trading card featuring Kamala and his handler, “Kim Chee.” Again, a perfectly acceptable time in our nation’s history.

By Todd Brommelkamp/KGYM Radio

I spent 10 minutes this morning sitting in the parking lot listening to the Dan LeBatard Show on this station and a smiling. The reason: Kamala, the Ugandan Head Hunter.

Kamala is actually James Harris. He’s a professional wrestler, not a third-world savage and if you believe a guy named Jim Harris is from Uganda, well, I don’t know how to break this news to you.

Now, you’re either a fan of professional wrestling or you’re not. I get that. If you’re not, I may as well be speaking Swahili. I’m guessing Kamala and I know the same amount, for what it’s worth.

A love of pro wrestling, along with some DNA, were just a few things I shared with my uncle, who passed away unexpectedly this week at the age of 64. Growing up my mother’s youngest sibling may as well have been Andre the Giant to me. He was a larger than life guy who never seemed to grow up and always kept a good sense of humor no many how many curve balls life threw at him.

I wish I still had the stack of old wrestling magazines he passed down to me. Ones with guys like Superstar Billy Graham, Johnny Valiant and Magnum T.A. Those got sold at a garage sale when I was a kid and the money turned into baseball cards, a childhood passion that has outlasted pro wrestling in my life, though I still indulge every once in a while just for nostalgia’s sake. Or so I tell myself.

One of the last things I said to my uncle this week, outside of telling him that I loved him, was me making mention of a signed photo I had in my memorabilia collection. It’s of Ric Flair and, I said, if I ever get my basement finished it’ll hang on my wall and I’ll think of my uncle every time I see it.

Ten minutes later, after leaving my cousins with a decision I can only hope I never need to make, I was sitting in my car pressing the ignition. My radio was tuned to the ESPN affiliate in the Quad Cities and as its local show went to break there was roughly two or three second of dead air and then it played.

To borrow from Terri Hatcher, it’s real and it’s spectacular.

Ric Flair’s famous entrance music complete with trademark “Woo.”

It was seemingly a non-sequiter. It wasn’t connected to the end of the segment and it had nothing to do with the first commercial that played.

I’ve never been one to believe in coincidences. There were no tears on the drive home, just a brief smile. I was at peace with what was coming and I think someone else was too.

My uncle passed away the following day under hospice care.

So today I sat in a parking lot and listened to a guy named James Harris tell a story about being too drunk to wrestle Hulk Hogan, with Hulkamania whispering what moves he wanted performed between running wild on Kamala in the ring.

And I again thought of my uncle.

And, again, I smiled.