Today marks the first anniversary of my friend Jeff's death. Jeff and I worked together at The Gow School for about six years.
His wife, three young children, brothers, sisters, parents, friends have all been on my mind and on my heavy heart more than usual the past week.
Jeff was such a good man - fun, smart, honest, talented chef, so down to earth, and freakishly awesome at beer pong and foosball (I've played this game since I was four and somehow I'm still unsure how to spell the word). For the record, he was one of the only people I've played to actually have kicked my ass at that game.
His famous opening line was, "How YOU doin'?" and his famous last words were, "Whattya gonna do."
When I was pregnant, he was willing to make chocolate pudding for dessert at the dining hall whenever I demanded it (without the stupid chocolate chips - it's a texture thing), and the chocolaty zucchini bars that I was convinced he was messing with me that there was actually zucchini in them.
He and his wife gave me a couple of bags of hand-me-downs for our kids, and he put them in my unlocked van for me one afternoon at work. It was so nice of him to do that; especially since I was running late from taking care of SAT's, and in light of his bad back. When I finally got to my van, however, I discovered not only the bags, but that he had re-adjusted my car seat, all the mirrors, windshield wipers, and anything else that he was able to adjust. It took me at least ten minutes to get everything back to where it was so I could go home.
The next time he offered me hand-me-downs, I graciously declined.
Because of him, I have a new appreciation for Bruce Springsteen and ice sculptures. Because of him, I've made a couple more really great friends.
I hope he and Matt are having a beer together, and that he didn't get his ass kicked by my sasquatch.
Miss you, Jeff. You are one of the good guys. Please tell Matt I said Hi and I love you. I hope to have a great meal when I get to where you guys are.
Carrie and Cliff, I've been thinking and praying for you guys, and for all the Fazzolaris.
Love and peace to each and every one of you.
...I've had a few glasses of wine in your honor tonight, Jeff.... (hiccup)