It was just three years ago that a neighbor called and said Milt needs a fourth for pickleball at his private court. Soon, Milt, who didn’t know me from Adam, welcomed me to his place with open arms.
The next day they needed another player so Hannah came along. Taken with Hannah’s spunk and power, Milt had us back again and again. To his credit, Milt in his 80s wanted to learn the game not just whack the ball as hard as he could. Still quite the athlete (Milt was once a scratch golfer), he worked on his soft game and his serve.
You see, Milt and his wife Carolyn live in northern Virginia. Each summer around Memorial Day they come to their place in Maine, which happens to be just five miles from our home in York.
To welcome them back this first Friday in June, 2021, I dial Milt’s number. No answer. No surprise as Milt has been working remotely ever since the pandemic grabbed the country and world by the throat. I try Carolyn’s number and she also does not pick up. Still not out of the ordinary. Carolyn has a full life here in Maine, too.
I then text their son Rick, to see if they are even in Maine. In minutes, Rick replies, Hi Dan, Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Milt passed away last week. Family in mourning. Thanks and give my best to Hannah.
Stunned does not do justice to this news. Disbelieving! Incredulous! I could empty the thesaurus describing how much I was blown away. When Hannah and I last saw Milt this past September on the pickleball court, he looked great, full of pep, and talkative as ever.
Many was the time that Carolyn came to watch us all play. From her courtside vantage point, she kept score, complemented good shots, and sassily commented on what Milt should have done better. In time, Carolyn learned that Hannah cut hair in people’s homes. Soon Hannah became their barber and hair stylist.
Milt always said, Come and play anytime you want, and we did. And despite his many business interests, Milt was often able to get away for an hour to play with us. Upbeat, complementary to others, and sometimes tough on himself, he was always a joy to be around.
The last time we saw him, we parked just twenty feet from his driveway so we wouldn’t block any cars coming and going. He gently admonished me, What are you doing parking on the side road. You’re friends of mine, park up front by the house. And so we did.
Rest in peace, my friend.
Click here for the obituary of this amazing, generous man.
Top – Milt Peterson
Middle – Our friend Fran with Hannah at Milt’s pickleball court
Bottom – Our friends Alan (red) and Genny (yellow) at the court with Hannah serving, Milt in the distance