Urban Fantasy

Monday, January 03, 2005

Those sweet Ann Arbor days

If we may, for a moment, depart from my tired scribblings on impending alcoholism and perpetual self-improvement programs:

Growing up, Mr. Gray was a truly excellent dad. He didn't seem like a Dad in many of the conventional ways. He watched HBO with his (young) children. Music ran in his veins, but he was never one of those awful rock snobs who would shun you for enjoying the occasional foray into cheesy Broadway show tunes. He listened to children and young people, and evaluated what they had to say as if they were colleagues, not charges. At the same time, it was always very clear that he was the Dad, not the Pal. I remember running from Pookie's house one bitingly cold New Year's Eve, scampering down the asphalt in our floppy slippers, loudly singing the alternative lyrics to the X-Files theme music (Sweet Moses, we were nerds) instead of the admittedly more appropriate Auld Lang Sayne, only to be greeted by a Not Pleased Mr. Gray at the door. Mostly, though, I remember looking up at his big teddy bear face with a gentle grin, and thinking "Mr. Gray is so cool!"

Mr. Gray died two years ago today.

I still ache for his wonderful family, and especially my dear, dear friend, with whom everything and nothing has changed. I see how she she aches, and wish so much that I could make it more manageable from her. Today cannot be easy, so Pookie, if you're reading this, join me in my memory of one of the happiest times I can recall. I'll be the one with the car keys and still in her underwear, thankyouverymuch.

We incestuous, tight-knit four hadn't been all together in years, but it was almost unnerving how effortless it felt. We went back to the scene of our many crimes, and toasted the future on the Rock where scores of little battles were won and lost as we waited for our families, our buses, our Ethical Soccer teachers to arrive. We were pretending to be grownups with the people who knew us as kids, and it was one of those moments where what you're doing and what the universe thinks you should be doing synch up perfectly. We held each other, and told Deep Dark Secrets, and ate overlarge amounts of fondue and pancakes. Later that weekend, not wanting it to end, we just drove for hours around the hometown that in many ways was no longer home. At 3 AM we pulled over in the middle of a street to watch a herd of deer graze in a field a stones throw from apartments and dorms. We knew that the end was in sight, and we talked about it, not wanting to hide from it, but took joy in the familiarity of having new thing to share with old friends. We didn't deny what you were going through, but we found something great in the comfort we could give you and each other. And, most important, there was a Transcendant Naked Puppy Pile.

So, though they may be just empty words, here's hoping they bring back fond memories. You continue to inspire and amaze me, and tonight I will be thinking of you, that weekend, and all the wonderful things we did in our brilliant youth.


  • At January 4, 2005 at 12:57 PM, Blogger carolbean said…

    no new year's will ever top 2003!! if for nothing else than lying naked next to jedd...talk about an urban fantasy.

    i owe you a nice long phone call. and no words of yours have ever been empty for me, least of all these. and thank you for being such an admirable friend. i heart you!


  • At January 12, 2005 at 11:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I need to call you back... I'm sorry. You, Jedd and Carol are really my best friends ever and I can't let that go.



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