Monday, February 18, 2013

a Year in review

Mood... Sad and yet happy
Song of the day, Skid Row, I remember you

It has been a year since Gundy passed. An entire year. It is still very hard to believe. I had a phone call today from his other friend, Ray Smith. Ray really put my mind and heart at ease. There were questions I had and he very patiently answered me. We never met, we only know each other through stories that Gundy told each of us.

So. I learned my beloved friend learned to text. The little shit. I am having a beer. Please excuse my language. I'm still angry with him for the way it went down... him being Gundy. But, yet, I have to smile. He learned to text. The very last conversation I had with him was when I went to NY when Grandma had passed away. He came over one night that I was there and he met my kids and visited with my family, and most important he visited with me. He made it OK that Gram had passed and I was not "home" when it happened. We stayed up late and talked. He left somewhere around 3am. That was the last I saw him. A few months later I called the New Baltimore gas station and he yelled at me. It was something about having a cell phone shoved down his throat. I thought.. he was yelling at me.. What I heard him tell the other person in the booth was, "This is why I don't answer the phone at home, because  people get on it and want to talk." I hung up and never tried to contact him again. I am very thin skinned and do not take rejection well. But his friend, told me that Rich actually took to the cell phone and became an avid texter. I love to text. I'd have loved to wear him out on it.

I also learned that he got to see the new (F**king) Mets stadium. That Ray took him and he thought it was neat. Gundy thought everything was neat. That was his thing. If he really liked it, he called it neat. I choked on tears when Ray said it. He said it like Richard, and I'm not sure if Ray knew how life sometimes mimics art and at that exact moment... they were one. One with the word neat.

I have to recant on my prior post. I'd written it when I was grief stricken. I was talking to Ray and suddenly the night Gundy and I met came to clear focus. Yes it was foggy and it was dark. Scott C and I had broken up and I made a point to leave the hot shops after the pack because I just did not want to be near Scott or our mutual friends. Thin skinned. I'd cut across the NB parking lot and was about to Jump the guardrail and Gundy appeared next to me and spoke. Something like, "I don't like you walking across the parking lot alone." and I missed the guard rail with my hand and went ass over tea kettle over it; ending in a face plant in the parking lot. I then got up and started to run for my car. Gundy in pursuit. "I'm not going to hurt you. I work out here..." and other calming words being howled my way and me running blindly for my car. I unlocked the door and broke the door handle on that Dodge Charger. I turned to face my foe knowing I was dead. And it was then that I recognized who he was. It was then that I felt OK and knew he was the gentle giant that worked in the NB gas booth whenever he could.

Let us talk about the day of damnation. The day that sealed the pact that we were friends and there was nothing that " life the universe and everything - Douglas Adams" that could be done about it. We were across the Hudson at a car show. I'm thinking down around Rhinebeck. It was suppose to be 60' that day and windy. And it wasn't. He showed up at God's hour, or before 11am anyway. I had school the prior day and worked the 3-11 at one job and over night at the fox run. We had agreed to leave about 1pm. He showed up. Picked my ass up and threw me in the pool. Good morning Jenn. Yea, F U too.  Well he didn't quite throw me into the pool because I was fighting him by the time he carried me that far and yelling that if your going to wake me up to show the F up with coffee. So, my head got dunked over the side of the pool a few times with him laughing hysterical. yea.  So I took a quick shower and got dressed. We wore Jeans, T-shirts, and brought our flannels JUST in case. We ate when we got there. Well. Here is what happened. We were there about 30 minutes and clouds rolled in and the wind kicked up. I took his keys and ran to the truck and grabbed our flannels and met back up with him at the vendor area. We pulled on our flannels at the same time. I happened to hit my boob. Let me back up a second. My boob's grew in in middle school. I went from a training bra to a C cup and they were not firm. They were big squishy things. So, I was rather shocked when my arm whacked one and it was firm. I kinda stopped. Squished my boob a few times. By that time he'd turned and was watching me. His story was he was talking to me and walking and I wasn't there. Yea... peep show... lol. Anyway, he yells, "We are in PUBLIC, what in the hell are you doing?" and I leaned over and told him. He casually leans in and squishes my boob. Makes eye contact with me. and very earnestly states, "It feels like a boob to me, let me feel the other..." And squished the other. The other was still very firm because it had not been squished by warm hands a few times. He opened his mouth to say something, looked around, turned beet red, put his arm around me and walked me away mumbling about the people gawking. I looked around and there were like 5 people looking all aghast. Needless to say...he did pick on me forever and a day over that one.

There was baseball. We always promised to catch a subway series (even tho I didn't like either team) together. And he always went without me. I'd get so mad. But the first year we talked of it was the year I worked for the parks and rec in New Baltimore. We had a pilot program at the park out by my parents house. I went and hung out with the kids for 4 hours a day (between work and school and whatever young adult things I did). We scored free tickets for a few AC Yankee games. Daryl Strawberry was down because of his drugs (and what an ass he was) and the up and coming Derrick Jeter was there. Jeter stole my heart. He stopped and went under the yellow tape and knelt down and talked to the kids and signed what they had to offer for signatures. He said he would be a star some day. And he was so very cute. His eyes were soooooo very.... YUM. And then he tanked ME for bringing a car load to watch him play. I went to every AC Yank's game I could get tickets to. YUM YUM. I never met him after that time but I did enjoy going. So, that was what started the Subway series banter with us. Jeter got called up and I wanted to go and see him play with the big boys. Gundy said he'd only go if it was the subway series and he could see his boys play.

Gundy was a very private man about some things. Most things. We did have a tradition. I'm not sure when it started. And all stories prior faded in an instant. And all stories after held no Candle. It was the story when little Smitty got his Make A Wish. I never saw Rich cry. I never heard him speak softly. I never saw the twinkle in his eye like a new day. We were sitting at the dinning room table at my parents. It was my birthday. I'm thinking it was me being bummed about my birthday that started the tradition a few years prior. Anyway. Our tradition was to pick the best story of the year and retell it. Yes. A small speck of positiveness to break up the monotony of asshole relatives. I, didn't know about little Smitty. I pulled out the article (I'd cut it out of the paper and saved it.) and said, this is my fav story of the year. About a little boy I didn't know that had a serious medical condition and he got to meet the NY Yankee's. And that my attitude about the Yankee organization had done a U-turn. He looked at the article and grinned. It was just a little blurb I'd found reading the paper on a midnight shift. There was not much to it. I said, my only wish, would be to know more about it. How the kid felt. It had to have been the best day of his life.

Gundy, his eyes misted. He took off his glasses and wiped his eyes. He then took a generous swig of his beer and got another one. "They showed up with Limos. The limos took little Smitty to NYC..." and the story went on. It felt like I was on the edge of a giant cliff. My heart was in my throat the entire time. Tears came freely. It was the BEST story ever. Then he said he wanted to tell me about little Smitty. And he told me the story of a little boy who was given a few years to live when he was born because of backwards organs. And he passed the few years. And that every year was a gift.

And every day is a gift. That is something in this day and age we really need to remember. You never know when your life will be taken from you. There is no room to be an ass. There is no room to not live each and every day to the fullest. It has taken me many years to understand this lesson.

I was friends with Gundy for 11 years. I left NY in the middle of the night in the middle of a snow storm and really did not look back until Gram died. It was like I suddenly grew up the day I had to go back to NY.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing Jen that was a good read. <3 <3 :)

2/19/13, 12:56 AM  

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