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  • Jimmy Broccoli

Friend: Michael Rennie, R.I.P.

Hi All

Please do forgive me if I too often post eulogies - 2021 has been a challenging year.

It is due to the great strength of my sisters and caring friends that I, with time, enabled myself to rejoin society - though not yet completely - after months of grieving. For too long, the ground beneath my feet trembled too often.

My foundation is not yet completely still or predictably solid, but I am now able to stand upright without significant concern of falling down. I am not yet a rock, but I am also no longer haphazardly moving water through desperate hands.

I began 2021 in an unusual and unfortunate way. I woke up on January 1st in a motel bed and the first thing I did was read a post from a friend. She told me (and others) our friend Michael Rennie had passed - and I didn't know how to accept this knowledge. I remained in bed for another hour or so. barely moving. I, of course, did not know he would be the first of three very important people in my life to pass during the month - and reacted to his passing as I would later react to the others. I was devastated.

While in my mid-teens, Michael taught me how to dance. My stumbling and insecure legs eventually began to adhere to the Charleston, modern, and other dance expressions previously unknown to me. He taught me to perform them well and didn't stop encouraging me until I got it right.

Without controversy or inconsistency, Michael is/was among the most honest, kind, and respectable men I've ever met. As a teenager - and then later into my 20s and 30s - he is the man I aspired to become.

I had the wonderful opportunity to spend time with him in June of 2019 during an amazing and long overdue visit to my hometown (Las Vegas, NV). Michael and I hadn't seen each other in years, but our friendship immediately reignited upon our reunion. I was 46 years old, at that time, and still aspired to become as good a man as he was - and still do.

In November of 2020 Michael and I spoke for the last time though, of course, neither of us knew it would be our final conversation. I posted a video that month and Michael responded to it. From there, we continued to discuss expression (whether through dance, art, writing or other means) and how important it was in both of our lives. He wasn't only a teacher - he was a friend and that had been true since our initial meeting many years before.

If any musical representation reminds me of Michael and his passions, it is the soundtrack to "Les Miserable" - which is amazing. But, the last post (of mine) Michael responded to reminds me most of him because it was the initial spark of our final conversation.

I miss my friend. His name was Michael Rennie and, without him and his incredible influence throughout my life, I wouldn't be me - then or now.

Here is the video that Michael and I discussed a month and half before he departed this world. It's Keaton Henson's (with Ren Ford), "Healah Dancing" - a song that means a lot to me - and I hope you enjoy it!

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