Sunday, April 27, 2014

For My Parents. Well, Sort Of...

A few weeks back I bumped into an old fire chief and his sweet wife in the bike store. Conveniently, this sweet couple are the parents of a girl I used to date back in high school. It’s been over a decade since I’ve seen either of them.

Cue sudden rush of emotions.

For full effect, download “Walk Home” by Thomas Newman and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, at least I think that’s what Hilary Clinton said somewhere in a best-selling novel a few years back. The phrase is cliché and overused, but the bottom line is no matter what family we come from, the biological parents are not the only people responsible for a boy turning into a man. Go ahead and nod your head in agreement with me on that last statement, because you know just as well as I do that there’s a list of honorable Moms and Dads floating around your history somewhere. Moms and Dads you meet in random bike shops, like the Ritchies. 

Kids, I know you’ve heard my claims that the village of Southern Utah is the place that helped me become a man. With that being said, there is no way I will ever forget the village that took care of me as a boy. That village was a place I’m not known in my professional career for praising very often, but at the same time, it is where I truly came into my own, with the help of quite a few people along the way.

As an A.D.D. driven creature playing with pogs and watching Saturday morning cartoons, you could say I was a “special” kind of kid. And I don’t mean special as in, “this-kid’s-gonna-go-far-because-of-his-ability-to-solve-calculus-problems-in-Spanish”, I mean special as in “why-is-that-drooling-weirdo-putting-grape-jelly-on-his-pizza?” I was out of control, unorthodox, and had pop culture icons like Jim Carrey and David Spade influence my annoying social skills. I was a rambunctious monster, and luckily, my childhood was postmarked with outstanding people such as the Ritchies, who came in to make sure I didn’t go too far off the deep end.

There are a quite a few parents I owe credit for voluntarily raising me over the years. On the south side of my house I had the Nelsons, who were kind enough to let me shovel off the basketball court in their own backyard and shoot hoops night after night. On the other side were the Willards, the classic next-door neighbor couple who were some of the best personal chaperones and guest cooks you could find. I had Larry and Kathy Mower, the former teaching me the art of detailing a car, the latter showing me the secret to decorating a cake. There was my former employer, Bruce Foust, a man that taught me the skill of keeping up a yard. And Pat Patterson, a wise sage who I stole bits and pieces from the way he delivered a speech.

I am grateful to have had these people in my life. I'm grateful for the Chuggs being patient with me as I exchanged blows with their son Cody over the years. I'm grateful for Darren Albright for not throwing me into traffic after I accidentally burnt a hole in the front seat of his car with a cigarette lighter. I'm grateful to Deanne Sheridan for teaching me how to play the piano. I'm grateful to Kim Robinson and Brad Ostler for being the best scoutmasters west of the Mississippi, and not torching my friends and I when we scratched the words "Kim Sucks" all over White Canyon. I'm grateful to Chris and Kathy Davis for being the hug I needed the night my Dad passed away.

The list could go on and on, I know that. But since our modern day attention span can only focus on blogposts that are under four minutes in length, I have to keep it short. One thing I will say is that I am grateful for the number of parents that put up with me over the years, and had the patience to not lose their sanity as life came our way. If I didn’t have them to keep me in line, who knows where I would be at this point?

As I stood in the bike shop with my old girlfriend’s parents, we talked, we laughed, we caught up on old times, we hugged in the aisle and then went our separate ways. Who knows when I’ll see them again? In fact, who knows if there will ever be another lucky coincidence that will have me meet up with any of my proxy parents again in a bike shop? It's been almost 12 years since I left Roy as an immature, foolish, naïve, six-foot-four punk, and not a day goes by I don’t thank the big man upstairs for blessing me with the collage of parents that raised me. 

And maybe, in the years ahead, I’ll be lucky enough to bump into a few more of them while standing in line at random bike shops. 

What do you think?

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