“Manuary” – where men come to roar. When you first hear the word “manuary,” you may think of a medical procedure or possible spa treatment. The definition created by 60-year old, alpha male Tom Rau, a Brighton, Michigan native, defines a period of time that he and some close male friends share at his Jackson Hole retreat in January/February each year.
In its third year, “manuary” has proven to be very emotional and physically gratifying to these guys as they reflect on their lives as aging men.
A great deal can be learned spending this time bonding together with good friends who respect each other and have years of wisdom between them. Some of the five guys also brought their sons along, as well.
In the course of the days, the conversation went from business to personal. I think the most important element is the stress-free, humorous environment that they all consciously create.
Being reassured that this time together is only healthy and rewarding if it’s experienced by all; selflessness and egos are not part of this trip.
While joking with and about each other is part of every day, respect and general admiration is always there. Amongst the group we had Tom Rau, the host and 60 years young; Rick Scherrer, 58; Jim Scherrer, brother of Rick, now 62; Dudley Miller, 61; ex-Navy Seal and the youngest of the group, Andy Shmina, 47, and me, at 52.
The sons: Jonathan, 27. (They call him ‘Jay’. Tom’s son and aspiring actor); Nate, 23 (Jim’s son and aspiring screenwriter). Both live in L.A.; A.J., 28, who is Rick’s son; and, lastly, my son, Josh, 19.
Thanks to J’s strength as a skier and athletic ability, he turned out to be extremely helpful in capturing some great footage of the seasoned, older guys skiing, which I am not. He took my camera and, basically, skied around the guys.
Tom Rau, who we affectionately refer to as ‘Harrison’ (Harrison Ford lives in Jackson Hole). Tom embodies the same driving force, not to mention the Grand Teton mountains, have been his playground for years. You combine this with one hell of a strong sixty year old, and you have yourself a driven and enthusiastic host that makes sure he pushes the limits of the guys, no matter what they feel they can’t do; from skiing the double black diamond to trekking five miles in snowshoes into the mountains’ natural forest.
On one of the days, we went big game hunting with Rick and his brother, Jim. Neither one of them were partial in what they bagged, since they are all in season. Rick got the trophy for having the biggest one of all the guys - camera lens that is. His massive, high-powered lens would allow you to count the nostril hairs on a big horn sheep.
So, as the week came to an end, the guys all sat on the couch, minus Dudley, who flew out a day early. In the final hours, they reflected on the week and profusely thanked their wives, Cristy, Deb, Joni, Lisa, and Sue for allowing such a trip during Valentine’s Day.
They reminisced about the time together and helped all of us understand just how important a ‘manuary’ week is for them and any man. Guys need guys on occasion. They need to be able to roar together.
This short, five day trip helped remind me what it’s like to be a man to push myself and to share close thoughts and laughs with great guys, as well as with my son.
I will never forget Tom Rau’s ‘Manuary’ 2012 and neither will my son, Josh.
Thank you, Tom, and all the guys.