N is for Naked Running Spells

I lived on campus my first year at Carolina and loved every minute of it. It was a great experience and I’m glad I did it. I became close friends with some great people there including the 3Cs of Longcreek Drive. One evening while listening to Paul Simon’s Kodachrome I got jacked up and took off running down the dorm hallway full blast. Over the next few days upon hearing those magical words, “When I look back at all the crap I learned in high school..” I’d takeoff running. It kind of became a running joke and I’d do it a lot when drunk. It was a blast to run full blast down that hall. Later C #1 would call them running spells.

The story gets better.   Our suite was a popular hang out spot. We had a Sega Genesis and two of the four guys who lived there were seldom there so we had more space. One of my suite-mates, K, really didn’t like people in his room after 9. He was seldom there though as he spent most of his time at the library. He required 9-10 hours of sleep per night plus naps at the library so when he’d come back to his room he was ready for bed.

One night, K, steps out of the shower with towel around his waist. He sees about 4 guys sitting on his bed so he steps into the hall and removes the towel from around his waist. Ala Superman he hangs it over his shoulder as a makeshift cape and the Naked Running Spell was born. From that night on all it would take for folks to clear out of his room would be for K to step out of the shower with his towel around his waist and him casually mention it being a good night for a run. Occasionally he’d have to accidentally drop his towel by his bed, but eventually we all got the point and he got his peace and quiet by 9.

What are some of your dorm room stories?

L is for Longcreek Drive

The first rule of Wrestling Club is that you don’t talk about wrestling club. The second rule of Wrestling club? Yeah you know the rundown. Fight Club was very popular when I was in college.

My roommates and I, we’ll call to them as the 3 Cs, loved the movie. In fact we loved it so much we staged our own Fight Club scenes, but instead of bare knuckle fighting we’d have Olympic style wrestling matches. 

C #1 wrestled in high school, and had a state champion older brother turned high school coach, so he was the reigning champion.

C #2 also wrestled in high school, but was 5’5″ and weighed 130 pounds soaking wet. He held his own, but was really too small to win very often.

C #3, like me didn’t know anything about wrestling, but was by far the biggest and strongest of the four of us.

I knew nothing about wrestling, but I am fairly athletic and was stronger than the first two Cs.

We had some epic battles that first year. We’d hold 3 or 4 matches a week. Entrance music and all. Wrestling club was was serious business. 

We lived on the 1st floor that first year, but due to maintenance issues we were forced to move upstairs shortly after our first lease expired. The very first night after we had new people move in below us Wrestling Club came to an end. Apparently, 4 21-22 year old men wrestling in an apartment is very noisy to people living below them.

I have lots of funny stories about living with those guys, but I’ll keep this post short as I am way behind on the challenge and need to write my M post as well tonight.

Remember the most important rule of Wrestling Club, if it’s your first night at Wrestling Club, you’ve gotta wrestle.

C is for Charleston

Situated on a peninsula created by the Ashley and Cooper rivers lies one of the oldest cities in the United States, Charleston, SC. Known as the Holy City, Charleston was once largest city in the America, not called NYC, Philadelphia or Boston.

I could go on for hours about her history and her charm, but I’ll let you go there and discover that for your self. Instead I’ll focus on what Charleston means to me.

In the spring of 2004 I met a girl. Some call her E, I’ll call her the OBG. Barely a month in and I knew she was the one. Later that spring/summer we took our first trip together. We spent 3 days in Charleston and it became our city.

Over the next year or so we’d come back for visits, but in June of 2005 while strolling along The Battery I asked her to be my wife.

Flash forward 2 years and we’re staying in a colonial mansion on the battery that had been converted to a B&B. This was the place where we found out LM was on his way.
Twelve glorious years later E and I will be back in our city, staying at our mansion for our ten year wedding anniversary Memorial Day weekend.

I can’t wait to see what this trip will bring.

Let’s Call Him B

Let me take you to rural South Carolina circa October 1983, before my beloved E was even born. I was in kindergarten, yeah I know I’m a cradle robber, and my buddies and I were on the playground having a good time. We were doing our best impersonations our favorite wrestlers. I of course was The Nature Boy. Call me lame, but I was always a sucker for a good heel and there’s never been one better than Ric Flair. My best friend B loved Ricky Steamboat. Everything was going great until the girls showed up. B upped it a notch to either impress or run them off I’m still not sure which. Either way he knocks me down and climbs up on the climbing toy, aka the top rope, and delivers Steamboat’s signature finishing move. Too bad he landed boot heel first on my shoulder and snapped my collar bone like a twig.

Flash forward 30+ years and we’re still great friends, brothers is more accurate. His wife, J, and E are best friends as well. He’s been a constant influence on my life for over 30 years. He’s an incredibly talented artist, photographer, athlete and just about anything he ever tries. He’s taught me that blood isn’t the only thing that creates family. Bonds grown out of love and mutual respect are just as strong if not stronger than any bond created by shared DNA.

We shared great times and unbelievable sad times. I was a groomsmen in his wedding and he blessed us with the wonderful gift of donating his photography skills at our wedding.

Probably the greatest joy we’ve shared was finding out that after years of trying J was pregnant, unfortunately less than a month later it was followed up with one of the lowest points of my life when they found out she had miscarried. That loss shook my entire foundation. I was angry at myself for having a kid and them not and I was pissed at God for pulling the rug out from under them. Later I would be torn between the joy that BG was on the way and this wonderful couple had nothing but this tragic loss. 

Their baby would be just a few months older than BG. I often imagine what those two kids would grow to be. Best friends? Husband and wife? Would they even like each other? The thing is I’ll never know, but what I do know is that he’s my brother and he deserves better.

Musical Brilliance or Diva Defiance

BG is without question the most active, some might say wild, 21 month old I’ve ever known. Trying to corral her is about as easy as getting Donald Trump to play nice.

She gets into everything! If she can see it she wants it. Whether it be books, toys, stacks of folded clothes, or food left on the table. Even though she knows both are off limits two of her favorite things to “pay” with are my guitar and our printer.

If you’re thinking it’d be hard for a baby to play with those two simultaneously then you obviously don’t know our girl!

Tonight she decided to tear the front panel door off and use it to play my guitar.

Was she exploring her musical side or being as defiant as a not even 2 year old girl can be?

My Valentine

A couple of days ago my infinitely better half E was answering LM’s questions about  Valentines Day. She shared with him how it was one day that you could show someone just how much they mean to you and how much you love  them.

His response was wise well beyond his 8 years.

“One day? That’s stupid, aren’t you supposed to show people that they’re special and that you love them every day?”

I couldn’t have been more proud of him in that moment.

Flash forward to today, allow me to set the scene:

Me, BG and LM have stopped at Dollar General to pick up some baby wipes and laundry detergent on our way back home from breakfast. As we’re waiting in the checkout line LM asks for some TicTacs and I tell him no. He’s is not pleased with my decision.  Fifteen minutes and a tantrum that not even the terriblest of two year old tantrums could match the 3 of us get back home.

I couldn’t have been less proud of him in that moment.

Parenting is an incredible journey and it’s rarely easy. My children push my patience to the brink and beyond most every day.

As I’m typing this I’m reflecting on the interaction LM and BG had on the home from breakfast. Remembering the look of love and adoration I saw on their faces as he made his silly faces and she cackled uncontrollably brings a sense of joy and understanding that nothing is permanent and as Samwise said:

Even the darkness must pass.

Do you want a single or a double?

The look on my immensely better half’s face as the bartender asked this question rivaled LMs reaction on Christmas morning.

After a brief pause, I assume to catch her breath, she said a double.

Ten minutes and two doubles later she leans over and says to me,

“I have a distinct feeling that I’d be good at the steel drums.”

This moment is just one of the many bright moments from our weekend getaway to the NC mountains.

We spent a beautiful Saturday morning walking around Brevard. Enjoying home made chocolates, delicious beer from the local brewery, browsing in the shops and finally having a late lunch at a pizza parlor.

After lunch we road through the Pisgah National Forest, which is a beautiful ride (Looking Glass Falls below) over to Waynesville to hop on the Smokey Mountain Expressway and down to Bryson City.

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After some much needed rest we drove over 19, through Cherokee (Tuckaseegee River below) and Maggie Valley to Waynesville for dinner.

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After a delicious meal it was back to Bryson City where we listened to live music and I watched E down 6 drinks (3 doubles) in about 10 minutes.

Even though I missed BG and LM it was a great time with E, the love of my life.

Two Teaspoons

10 millimeters. Roughly 4 % of a cup. In the grand scheme of things that is merely a drop.

But don’t tell that to person struggling to take their medicine tonight. Despite sounding like they’re about to hack up a lung it takes them not 1, not 2, but 3 sips to finish off the cauldron of Tussin.

You’d have thought it was corn liquor with the faces made after each gulp.

I know you might be thinking poor LM, but think again the patient tonight is my infinitely better half, E.

7 Year Old Logic

What is the next holiday? Asked LM from the backseat of the car tonight. I let him know that the next holiday was Memorial Day and he asked a few more questions about how we celebrate it. I told him what it was and how most people spend it.

He then asked what was after than and I told him the 4th of July or Independence Day some people call it. He asked how you celebrated that and I told him we usually have a cookout and shoot fireworks.

Oh yeah, That is right you go eat outside with strangers and watch fireworks, he explained.

E and I were stunned for a minute and had a good laugh at the idea of us eating with a bunch of strangers outside. A few minutes went by and he described a cookout we went to 2 years ago at some family land belonging to E’s extended family. I, much less him, had never met a few of these people so in his mind they certainly were strangers.

Our life is filled with these beautiful moments and we are very blessed to call such a kind, brilliant boy son.