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2005-10-11

Living in my own head...

Sitting here in the midst of a ridiculously irritating day, with staff officers running around like crazy people, I put on some Journey over the headphones as I sat at my laptop. It's funny how music can bring you back to times you loved, where everything was easy, and there was so much promise for you. I went back to when I was 16. It was summer time in Sea Isle City, New Jersey. The Jersey Shore, the greatest place in the world.

I can see everything like I'm living it again. My best friend Dave and I going to the surf shop in his beat-up Toyota Corolla, my feet out the window, crossed on top of the rear-view mirror. I remember throwing mini-pretzels out the window seeing if I can get them into the open windows of cars parked along the street. We didn't worry about what we were to become. We didn't worry about anything. We just lived... Journey was on the radio then too...

I remember long surfing sessions, followed by grilling Dietz and Watson hot dogs on the grill on my front deck overlooking the beach. I can see four of us in our wetsuits, stuffed into the outside shower trying to warm-up after surfing for five hours. I can see the day Dave met his wife, both of them looking so young. To me, they still haven’t changed. I can watch my friend Tom at his back-deck birthday party, he and his brother Frank, Dave, Jimmy, Tim, Andy, and Al looking just like any surfer you'd see in California.

I remember five of us, with two bikes and a skateboard, making our way uptown to the boardwalk arcade. I can hear Journey playing at the Spectrum in Philadelphia the first time I saw them. I can hear "Faithfully," and see the people standing, arm in arm, swaying to the music and singing. It was great. We were immortal at that moment. It's a moment caught in time that will never return, except in my mind, and in my heart. Those that are gone now are still there. I see them. Good thing army majors don't cry.

It's funny how things change. Who knew that party was two months before Tommy would be killed in a car accident, and after the funeral, we would never see Al again. Jaye joined him a year later, followed by John when I was in my twenties. Jimmy moved to California, Frank to Hawaii, for all intents and purposes, I left when I was 18. Dave's still there, so is Andy, but his grandmother, who treated me as one of her own, is gone, and his house was torn down. So was Andy’s. Others break contact out of misunderstandings or things others told them, like my old friend Joey. Then there comes a time in life where you have to put childish things down, and not speak of them again.

I see them now every couple years, but Dave and I still have a weird radar where he can tell when I come to town. I miss those guys, and those times. Times before the reality of 25 more years came. Marriages, divorces, kids, brothers you don’t speak to, it's all part of life. So are the people...all in their own way I guess. Some of them moved away; some found other friends and other lives; some died. But some are still there at the shore. They're our anchors. They keep the history and the memories in place for the rest of us.

We owe them...

Brainclogger...

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