Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Scott!

I'm starting this post BEFORE I head off to a party for my good friend Scott Wilson later today. I would post this as I write but because the party is a surprise, I'm going to wait.

Oh and I'm going stag. *sigh* I don't even have Sean today. *double sigh*

Much props go to his girlfriend Laura and our mutual friend John for setting up the big bash. I was initially on the committee to find out names and addresses but to be honest, I don't have them. Sadly we always forget to get that info when we're all together, which is roughly once a year.

A website was put together to honor Scott for his 40th
but it didn't quite get the love that it deserved. Still I knew I couldn't let the opportunity pass.

Anywho, I met Scott on our first day of class in 7th grade (September, 1981) - which was still in elementary school at the time, before they moved them to the old Mahopac Junior High (now Mahopac Middle School). My longtime friend Frank introduced us, and we hit it off pretty quickly. We had the same homeroom teacher, and my GOD did we torment her (the first of many). Nothing like breaking in a teaching newbie.

We moved from Austin Road Elementary School to the Junior High, and our hijinks continued, just as they would when we moved up to the High School. I think the first thing you need to understand about Scottie and I is that we're fairly different animals. Scott is metal, Kiss, blue collar, smoking, single, and as good a man as you can meet. He's everybody friend (one of the things I'd like to think we have in common, along with the Yankees and Rangers). I'm classic rock, Huey Lewis, non-smoking, and married (soon to not be) with a child.

Scott's long-haired. I was always the shorter-haired one.

It seemed to be that our sense of humor was our common bond. Honestly, it never mattered.

We also bowled together in high school. That's him wearing the Kiss t-shirt in the back row. The co-captain is kneeling in front, second from right on the bottom.
From Exit 55

Fortunately I don't have more pictures here to post...yet.

Now some stories aren't exactly fit for print, but there are a few I can share - since the statute of limitations has likely run out. We spent what seemed like every lunch together at school - standing on one of the ramps near the cafeteria (our school was handicap-equipped at a time when I don't think it had to be). Every lunch would end with Scott finishing his dessert (ice cream, I think) - the kind that you pulled a seal off the top of, and there would be some residue there. Scott would take said seal and stick it on the top corner of the wall - hence, the "seal of approval" was born.

OK, that's tame. So were the bus rides to and from bowling. Maybe the circumstances and situations weren't, but they were loud, raucous and fun. And they all ended with a sing-along, with music courtesy of Scott's omni-present boom box. Each night ended with a rendition of Van Halen's "Happy Trails" and us dying in laughter.

The all-timer came (oooh, that might be bad phrasing) one afternoon in either our junior or senior year. My locker was in the science hallway - closet to the door of an attractive but harsh teacher who seemed to really have a dislike for Scott, our friend Dan, and me. The three of us sat together in her class during our sophomore year and had a great time, but it never seemed to be any reason to hate us. She just really didn't like the guys, to be honest.

She even called me a "jerk" one time. I told my dad that in passing, and had to talk him out of going to the school to rip her a new one. I think she was kidding - I think.

Now how can I tell the rest of this story? I probably can't, except to say that we hung something on her door and called it "a rubbery situation." Her students laughed, she came out and took it off, and we stood at my locker, trying not to burst as the hallway filled. She seemed to laugh it off, closed the door, and we fell apart.

It's over 22 years later. I don't think I'll be facing detention.

Scott one of the best. A true friend, who pulled me aside to tell me that he had started smoking while we were in school, nervous that I was going to explode. No way, man. Friends are friends. He called me the night that his parents split - he was devastated. He returned the favor when I called him to discuss circumstances (breakups, death, and even happy news). He listened, advised, chided, and did what a friend does.

Through every past girlfriend (and now wife), he's been there. Solid, for sure.

His parents were the rock of his lives, despite their fractured marriage. Two beautiful people. I still see his mom, who was another friend to all of us, even taking the time to talk to me about things when I was a teen. His dad sadly died about two years ago. He's missed (yes, we can miss Red Sox fans).

Every year, Scott still throws a great bash at his parents former house (which is now his). Some of the faces change, but you can almost always count on me, John, Matt, Donna, Stephanie, Greg and Joanne (Austin Roaders who got married) and others that form the foundation. These date back into the early 90's and go until people can't take anymore. They're not quite the all-nighters that they used to be, but they're still hysterically fun and, well, quite debauched normally. The meek can apply but they wind up either laughing along or getting disturbed.

That said, I've taken Sean, though that normally means an early exit.

The insight into Scott is that, every now and then, the phone will ring and that same voice that used to call my house and say to my dad, "Is the turkey there?" - a reference to my birthday near Thanksgiving, will greet me with a "Mr. Adams. What's going on?" We talk for a few minutes, think about plans, never make them, and hang up. That's life.

He never forgets, and always checks in. There are countless memories from a nearly 30-year friendship, and I've only given you a couple of stories.

I think of him often, and I lament that we don't get together more, and that I wasn't around more (that's my fault - relationships and such). I wish he'd get his band together and start playing some shows so that I could go watch. He's a talented, self-taught drummer!

So as he gets ready to hit his big 40th with a party befit for a king of party-throwing, I hope he has the best of times with much love, health and happiness that one of the best deserves.

Happy birthday, old friend (even though his real birthday isn't until next month!).

UPDATE - I'm sitting here at the end of a long day among great friends both old and new. Scott's party was an amazing success and he is now opening his presents and enjoying the company of those remaining. I'm honored to have been a part of a very special day for one of my closest, dearest friends.

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