A Random Batch of Memories

Recently I came upon a stash of pictures that were slowly fading in a box in storage.  As with any batch of pictures, you have to flip through for the sake of jarring loose some of the chunks of yesterday floating through your mind.

There was a picture of my friend Alicia, the day before she left for Massachusetts.  It was an important day for me, though I don’t know if she realizes that.  As I recall, there was a hatchet to be buried between the two of us (at least I was holding one) and that day turned out to be the first time I acted like a grown up and realized that it’s foolish to hold grudges.  As a result, I’ve gotten to call her my friend for a good many years, which is a good thing because she’s a good person.

I found some old pictures from when I was four months old (I was a very chunky and adorable child), including a visit to Santa Claus in New York, which means we would have been at my Grammy and Grampy’s house in Brooklyn around Thanksgiving.  They both died when I was younger, and as such I never got to know them very well, but I miss them still.  I hope to see them again one day and really ask them about their lives and learn what about them helped make me who I am (or was, by that point).

I found a picture of my cousins Tim and Ron.  It was my 23rd birthday.  Tim is finishing up time in Iraq right now.  Ron lives far away. They’re both still like kid brothers to me. Ron and I just went to a UFC Fight Night not too long ago.

Then I found them.  I hadn’t seen them in a long time.

The Canada pictures.

The year was 1993. I think it was 1993.  A group of seven friends went for a week-long trip to Canada to stay at a cottage that was owned by Joey’s family.  Scott (No cool nickname needed), Tom (Murph), Kevin (Bacca Strap for that week), Tom (Burns), Me, Mike (Hawk) and Joey (PMT) all went up to have a good time.  We were all so young, and it was fun to revisit what we looked like back then.  I scanned a bunch of them and am selecting which ones go up on the Web.  (Side note to Murph: no, not that one.  That one, I think, was lost a while ago.  Otherwise I would tag you in it on Facebook. You’re welcome.)

What a fun, tumultuous time we had when we went.  I remember putting the dock out in the water and something biting me, which resulted in an allergic reaction that numbed all of my skin and made me break out in these weird bumps for a couple of hours.  I remember the first night.  I’m falling…I’m falling….

Setting of fireworks, as 19 and 20 year old boys will do.  Pranks.  Arguments. Drinking.

The time we hid the beer under the sink and I was coming out of the shower, someone was in the cottage we were in (there were two) and Mr. T going under the sink to do something, and we were all just about freaking out as to whether he was going to kill us.

Because paralyzed in fear, we saw him come in and ask his son Joey to come out and wash his back in the lake because he’d gotten dirty.  We had visions of Joey then flying through the sliding glass door action-movie style, an enraged Mr. T coming back in and asking who was next.  Nothing happened, he never said a word, but we all thought we were about to get our asses whipped.

The paper plate awards.  The monstrously horrible people disguised as girls that came by and just about ruined the entire week in one night.

That car trip to McDonald’s.  That went well.

The Chip Shack? Was that what it was called?  We just called it ‘The Sh*t Shack’ because of its culinary peculiarities.  There was a fresh spring water tap right out in front.

I was smoking like a chimney back then.  I brought a carton of Winstons up with me, and still ran out and had to buy crappy Canadian cigarettes.  Canadian cigarettes suck.  I don’t smoke anymore so it’s a moot point, but they suck. I had hair, as well as about 60 more pounds than I do now.  I don’t miss the weight, but I occasionally miss the hair.

The most amazing thing about the pictures is that of the people who were seen in the pictures and were on that trip, I’m still very close to some and still in contact with most (one I’m unsure if he’s alive or dead). I don’t need to see them as often as I did then, but that’s part of growing up.  Everyone in your life worth listening to still talks to you, and if you have anything to offer them they’ll hopefully still listen to you.  I don’t miss yesterday at all; I’m glad I had the experiences I did, even the painful ones because they made me who I am, which is a pretty decent guy.  I hope all those lessons I learned can help my kids escape having to learn some them on their own.  Looking at those old pictures, though, I hope they make some of the fun mistakes.

Because there was some fun.  And since it’s tradition every time Canada 1993 comes up, Mike gets an apology.  (He knows why.)  He also gets a thank you for driving through Canada to get us home.  Just so you know, Joey, he was doing more than 100 while you slept in the back seat.  That’s why we got home in 2 fewer hours than it took to get up there.

Now I wonder where the pictures from the other Canada trip in 1995 are.  Because there are some stories there, let me tell you.  Only three of us went that time, but there were some golden moments there.

Heh.  Good times.  It’s been a good life.

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