“A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.”
Which is why I guess Eugene didn’t bat an eye when I showed up at his place with my camera. “Come on, I need photos.” I told him, and we drove to the park. He picked a spot he liked, a spot he usually went to on days where there wasn’t much to do. He sat on the bench and put up me with snapping shots of him. We chatted about this and that, enjoying the slight chill in the autumn air.
I had some photos in mind when I thought of shooting Eugene, but right away I could tell he was comfortable and didn’t my prodding so I decided to get my ideas of of the way. We did a few things, and then I said what was on my mind. With out hesitation, Eugene took the hearing aid of his ear, and held it in his hands. As he did, he shrugged off my concerns and said “It’s a part of me… and there would be no way to capture me without showing it.”
We moved on, walking along the park. He sat at a bench under a large tree and looked up. “I’m an architect.” he said. “I love just sitting and looking at the structure of things. Why don’t people look at things anymore? When was the last time people just stopped and looked at clouds?”
We wandered along, along the baseball fields. Eugene looked over the fields, told stories of his old high school football days, and gazed through the fences.
As we headed towards the playgrounds, we chatted about this and that, the quite unimportant chatter of friends. I met Eugene only a few years ago, but since then he’s become a rock in my life. The buddy that’s always there, always ready to help. He’s shown up to clean out my parent’s basement – hardhat in hand, to my kid’s birthdays and to many a movie night. He’s as quick with a joke, as he is with a solid piece of advice.
Eugene was the one who suggested the swings. He swung back and forth and I looked at him thinking that he found a way to remember back to the days when being in a playground was the epicenter of joyful day. The sun set behind us, and the chill in the air got stronger, so we packed up and headed back to his car.
This morning, I got yelled at.
As I sat down at my desk with my first cup of morning coffee, I changed my status on Facebook to “Brian is up & watching the snow fall with the chillin’s…” Shortly afterwards Sue Henry commented, verbally harassing me for not only getting the snow she wants, but also for not being outside taking photos. Now… to begin with, I’m not a snow person, so I sat for a few moments, trying to figure a way to switch places with her. But I realized that she’d have to take it as a whole package deal, which included watching The Hulk cartoon my son was watching, for about the 300th time since I picked him up on Friday, and that might be a deal breaker.
I’m exaggerating her, as I sometimes do, Sue didn’t yell at me, more like politely asked in her typical, glass of lemonade, southern-belle way. But either way, she was right, and it was my new year’s resolution to get out and do more, so I was pretty happy when my folks agreed to change plans from going to a museum with the kids to just frolicking in the snow like a bunch of juveniles.
We dragged out the plastic sled from the basement and headed to the local park, or as my kids call, the “Big Hill Park” and found that there were a lot of others with the same idea. The first run was a great one, but ended with a collision between James and another sledder which turned him off to the whole idea for the rest of the day. He spent the rest of the time throwing snowballs and playing with Grandma.
Jack, on the other hand, became a sledding fool. The second the pull of gravity released him at the bottom of the hill, he was off, and climbing back to the starting line for another race to the bottom.
The snow was light, and soon the grass on the hill was starting to show, and the bite to the air was getting a little stronger, so we decided to head back indoors for some hot chocolate… and besides… Jack wanted to show Grandpa the new Hulk cartoon.