Eric and I have been friends for 10 years. I met him when I was living in Vancouver and going to university. He was a tall and lanky dane that never said a lot to those that knew him forever, but somehow there was something that clicked between us. I remember laughing when people, that had known him for far longer than myself, coming up and commenting that "I had no idea that Eric had such a great sense of humour!". Because you need to get past his blank look and actually force him to talk. There are moments in our relationship where he just wouldn't shut up. But friends let friends talk and verbally throw up when it is required. We tend to do it even if it isn't, but that's how friendship goes.
We were (and still are) huge Hip diehard fans. We drank a lot of rum and danced to a lot of stuff (just for the record, if you've never listened but have opportunity, check out albums Fully Completely and/or Up to Here - entire album is well worth the listen). When we met, he had a 1983 VW Rabbit that he aptly named 'Jack'. Drive thru's were tackled backwards because the drivers side window wouldn't role down. These are good things that I remember.
It's neat when you haven't seen someone for 4 years and you can pick up like it was only the other day. When you fall back into that level of comfort effortlessly and you can still be in their company without having to say a word because you feel like you need to fill the silence. This was his first vacation in 10 years, and I guess in hindsight, it's been a big 10 years for all of us. He has some fairly pivitol decisions to make in the next few months, but I know he'll do just fine. We're kind of like silly putty that way - not perfectly round and rarely bounce where you expect, but we always bounce.
The funeral was tough in some ways, enjoyable in others. Around these parts, things last for 3 full days - anything less than that and everyone stands around with a queer look on their face and go "wow, that's really rushed. I wonder what's really going on?". So three full days, sometimes 4, but no longer than four because then everyone stands around with a queer look on their face and go "wow, that seems like a really long time for the family. I wonder what's really going on?". We're like that. I saw people that I hadn't seen in 20+ years. There was a lot of "Really? This is the baby?". Yes folks. 'Tis me and I'm old enough to drive and buy alcohol in most countries of the world. I am old enough to have had a career and left it to go back to school and change it. *chuckling* Seems a bit funny to me. But it was a nice time. After the funeral service there was a gathering at the community hall. It was an old building that had an addition. This is a place where in the last 30 years, seen a great number of baby and wedding showers, funeral lunches and church picnics. It hasn't had the indoor toilet for all that long and there were two wood stoves that provided heat - one in the front and one out in the kitchen. There's great comfort that a wood stoves provide and it's more than just heat. It was fun to watch my brother go, because he grew up there. He's 8 years older than me and I forget that he had a life before me - one that he remembers and loved. He moved around the kitchen with great ease while the old women oohed and aahed over him and he grinned and flirted back. They fed him homemade brownbread with cheese and butter. They offered him tea. He laughed and joked and talked up a storm. It's usually he that's pushing one of us out the door because he's ready to leave. I went back in for him. Twice. On the way back into the city we stopped at the little church where we grew up and dad preached in. He told me not to be shocked when we pulled onto that old familiar lane. As soon as I came upon it, I understood why he said what he did. It was so tiny. So little against the backdrop of trees. There were 8, maybe 10 pews that had seen a lot of people come and go. But it was there and so familiar I may as well had been 6 years old all over again. I remembered my dad singing with Alvin and how their beautiful harmonies filled the little congregation. It could have sat a thousand people and I think they would have filled that too. I remembered sunday school down in the basement and eating dry cheerios during evening service. We passed by where we once lived. The old barn was falling down and I wondered if the pond that we spent hours skating on was still there or if it had dried up. I remember it being so far away when I was a kid, but now it was just back there within arms reach.
It's 6:23 now... I think I'll grab a snooze before class.
The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water; but to walk on the earth.chinese proverb