I’m flicking back and forth between “The Mentalist” and “The Big Bang Theory” . I’m out of cigars, so I’m smoking a Black and Mild. As I stare at the cursor flashing at me, daring me to write something original, I catch a whiff of the little cigar. It’s sweet, pipe tobacco actually. Immediately, I think of my friend Steve. We spent hours in his basement office sharing stories, talking of books and movies and women. Steve always smoked Black and Milds. Fylo, his cat would jump from Steve’s desk to mine looking for attention. It seems so long ago, those care free days hanging with Steve and Fylo. Fylo passed unexpectedly in 2008 and Steve met a great lady and moved to South Carolina. I haven’t seen him in years, though I think about him often. After Fylo passed I made this video slideshow for Steve.

If you’re still reading the Blog, I miss you bro.

Make sure your sound is on.

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17

April 16, 2012

I had an excellent childhood, two loving parents, and I was a good kid. I didn’t smoke, drink, or do drugs. Not yet. I would eventually dabble in all three, but that’s another story for another time. I was 17 and invincible.  I was a football player, and at that age, I couldn’t fathom how fragile the human body really is. I couldn’t possibly understand that we are only here for a cosmic blink of an eye.

There were two passengers with me. Both friends of mine. Both a year younger. We’d been out playing miniature golf at Putt Putt. We were running late getting home, and I didn’t want to be late. I didn’t want to disappoint, to…take advantage of the trust I had with my parents. None of us were wearing seat belts.

It was summer and I remember the heat. It was so damn hot, oppressively hot and muggy. I remember making a right down Glasgow Drive. I’ve no idea how fast I was driving. I remembered too late the curve at the end of the street, and I was driving too fast to make it safely. I remember trying to brake, turning the wheel, willing the car to stop. I remember twisting my body, gripping the steering wheel with both hands at the “12 O’ Clock” position and I remember thinking “this is gonna hurt”.

I remember a loud boom as the car hit the tree, then nothing…then…I heard static…the radio. Someone pulled me from the wreckage. To this day, I’ve no idea who. I propped myself up on my elbows and looked around. One of my friends was lying on the ground beside me. I grabbed his hand, squeezed and tried to tell him everything would be ok.  His eyes were wide open. he didn’t respond. He was in shock.

I could hear the sirens getting closer. I couldn’t seem make my eyes focus and my nose was running. I reached up to wipe it and my hand came away bloody. My nose felt like mashed potatoes. I thought it was weird that it didn’t hurt. Now I knew why my vision was blurry. I’m pretty sure the cops arrived first. Officer Brown questioned me. I told him I was the driver, we were on our way home. No we hadn’t been drinking. No we don’t do drugs. I gave him my licence. I told him to keep it, that I wouldn’t be needing it again. I felt sure my parents would never let me drive again. He laughed and told me to hang onto it anyway.

I knew my leg was broken. It was numb, I couldn’t move it, and it was doing a very unnatural “U” turn. Weird that it didn’t hurt. Yet.

By this time the paramedics had arrived and had begun working on me. I tried to cooperate but I wanted to know where my other friend was. I kept asking about him and i was meet by blank stares. “We’re working on you. We don’t know about him.” I told them his dad was a Captain on the police force, but I couldn’t get any answers from them. My heart sank. I felt sick, like I was going to throw up. “He’s dead”, I thought. “I killed him”.

As they put me in the ambulance, I remember feeling very cold, and thinking how amazing these people were who were working on me. They were sweating, I could see it. All the way to the hospital all I could think about was the friend I had killed. That and how it was weird that I didn’t feel any pain.

This is a true story. I publish it now because I have a niece who is turning 16 and is learning to drive. I don’t hold much hope that it will make much difference. I doubt hearing this story would have made any difference to my 17 year old self. But if just one person passes this story and pictures on to their kid and it makes them slow down…

The pain finally came, and stayed for months. My other friend lived. They had to cut him out of the car. He was lodged between the passenger seat and the passenger door. He had been ridding in the back seat. I cannot begin to describe to you how it feels to think you killed someone. I hope no one ever has to feel that.

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Steve’s Spaghetti

March 14, 2012

My friend Steve used to make the best spaghetti. But he moved to South Carolina, so I’ve had to fend for myself. I’m not a cook nor a teacher, but here are pictures of my take on Steve’s recipe.

Amounts vary (make them up, that’s what I do.)

half a Vidalia onion
a bell pepper (I use yellow or orange)
fresh mushrooms sliced
ground beef (I use 2 lbs)
Jar of store bought sauce (I use Ragu)
Tomato paste
Red wine
salt, pepper
sugar

RIP Mack

February 23, 2011

He was so cute, and a little goofy. I remember the night Ray brought him home. Angel had protested right up till the end, but finally, he gave in. “Go get your dog”. Once home he seemed to belong there. He chased leaves in the wind and tripped all over himself! He was a huge puppy. They named him Mack.

Mack had an under bite that sometimes made him look like he was showing his teeth. He grew to 160lbs and would shake his head throwing slobber everywhere just like Hooch. But he was the most loving, kind, and gentle dog you’d ever meet. All Mack wanted was love, and he got plenty of it from the Maldonado family as well as everyone who ever had the pleasure of meeting the gentle giant.

Rest in peace dear Mack, you touched my heart and will be missed.

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Mack
2005 – 2011