Yesterday’s post took a trip down memory lane. Writing about my friend Jennifer has had me thinking about our group of friends back home during the late nineties. So, with that in mind, I’d like to share a story to share the love with a group of guys who will all have their own post by the year’s end. One such guy already got his. He’s the fella married to Jennifer but there are others in the group who have their time coming.
It’s been difficult to think of how to single each of them out because, unlike Matt who was my roommate, the rest of them were almost always together when with me.
They are Josh, Chuck, Joshua and Matt.
It was my wedding day. The date was September 20, 2003. My wife had somehow obtain a small area at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens for our scheduled nuptials and the day was perfection. It was to be along a stone wall about shoulder height and our reception would take place just to the left of the ceremony in the courtyard of the Frist Learning Center and Contemporary Art Gallery. It was beautiful. More than I ever imagined for my wedding to be.
Before the service the guys and I were hanging out in the open yard where the “I do’s” and kissing would take place. We were most likely telling off color jokes to make one another laugh and get my jitters subsided. Despite what many people believe about me, I am always nervous when I’m going to be in front of a group of people. Especially when there’s a good chance I’ll start crying. By the way, I did. Them vows, they was tough.
After a few minutes of joking around someone came up to us, I think it was Josh's wife. I was sure she’d tell us we needed to knock it off. Not because she wouldn’t have appreciated the jokes. Any other day she’d have joined in. She was being what we all had a tough time being… an adult.
She came out to tell us we needed to find another place to be because my bride to be was gong to have some photos taken in the very spot we were congregating. We decided it best to wander over into a wooded area close by and hang there until the wedding started. It was perfect. We needed to enter from that direction anyway so, hey, let’s go.
We wander down the gravel path into the woods and stood around trying to recapture the magic of laughter we’d so easily entered into a few minutes before. It was silence. It was a nervous, “don’t know what to say” silence.”
After a few moments of this, with pathetic attempts to break the awkward air that hung over us like the tree cover Chuck picked up a rock and threw it toward a tree with a hole in it.
Joshua said, “Now why’d you have to do that Chuck?”
He picked up a rock and threw it at the same hole in the same tree.
The tree was about twenty yards away and the hole was about fifteen feet up off the ground.
They had both missed.
We then took turns tossing a rock toward the hole.
I might add at this point that my brother, the best man, was also with us. I just knew he’d be the one who’d get the rock in the hole first. As I’ve written before, he’s the athletic one of the family and trust me, in this group he reigned supreme as well.
Back and forth we all took our turn trying to sink the rock into the hole.
It was getting to the point, as time passed with each failed attempt, that I became aware we may not start the wedding on time. A challenge had been set before us and we weren’t leaving until one could stand victorious.
I don’t honestly remember who it was who actually sunk the rock. I do remember one of the other guys did it.
It is to this day one of my favorite memories of that day. Not the mostest favoritest of course. Know what I mean? Hehehe
But it was up there. It was this moment of six men getting ready to be involved with one of the most grown up things in a person’s life resorting back to a state of childlike competition.
These guys have been my go to friends from decades now. We all love one another deeply and are so happy for each other with the partners each has found.
We keep a message thread open on our phones and some days, at the most inopportune times the phones start buzzing with a series of jokes or serious matters and we all work into our day a way to engage and stay close. From five different cities in the US we all keep a connection. They are the friends I go to and we are the friends they go to. It is good to have technology but I suspect if we didn’t we’d still make it work.
I love them all deeply and I give each of them #thisiscrazylove2016 today.