It's Friday. The week is done, the Lord is thanked by billions of working Joes, Joses, and Jus, and here I am wittling away at some of my time on the blog. It might not be the most glamorous or inspiring of muses, but Friday serves up this post's topic: A history of Fridays in Eric's life. (Warning: I'm very Stream-of-Consciousness-ish today. Consider yourself warned)
Early Fridays in my life consisted of, I am told, burping, eating, sleeping, and pooping. I don't remember much of these Fridays, but I'm sure they were just fine. I do have vague memories of weekends as something special for my parents, however, who often hosted dinner get-togethers at our place. That was OK, because when the adults got to have fun, so did we. Fifth Branch dinner night meant: we got to play downstairs. Perhaps the greatest time of my life was spent down there when the carpeting had been torn up to reveal--shock of shocks!-- a black and red checkerboard pattern in the tile floor underneath. That provided hours and hours of entertainment in the boring years of youth: onesies slipped and slid across the tile surface at all times of the day, we would seriosuly set up and play human checkers (which wasn't as fun as you might think with only four or five checkers pieces in their pajamas), and I think the classic Vogeler game "Don't Touch the Lava--or Else You'll Burn Up" was invented sometime in the Spring of 1987. Oh, the good ol' days. Which led up to...
...the Sleepover years!!! When a Vogeler child turned eight, it signaled one of a few significant things: you could get baptized, you would get a CTR ring from Aunt Karen, you might get a 20 from Aunt Leslie (I did, I don't know if the other kids did...), you couldn't lie down on the benches at church anymore, and, perhaps the most exciting of all, you could have a Birthday Party Sleepover. YES!!! Can you feel the excitement that went into that? My poor parents could, and to their credit, they let 12 eight-year-old boys come over to their house, eat popcorn, watch movies, play Nintendo, and giddily talk until the wee hours of the night: 12:30 pm. That December 15, 1990, I believe the guest list included (in no particular order):
-Nate McConkie: he was the new kid in the neighborhood, and had a buzz cut. That was so cool! Plus, Nate's dad, Dan, competed on American Gladiators. At least, that was the story. After playing many a Turkey bowl at Bonneville elementary with Dan, I believe it.
-Dave Johnson: Long-time Bonneville and Nintendo friend. When Dave passed Super Mario Brothers without warping to any levels, his dad, Norm bought him the game of his choice. Norm was father of the year at that time, if I remember correctly. Dave and I also played at his house frequently after school. Two years later, Dave would hit me in the back of the head with a baseball bat. Miraculously, we're still friends.
-Andrew Hill: Dave's neighbor and partner in crime. Andrew could draw a sweet Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, he played on our Coach-pitch baseball team, and also had a really cute sister, although we probably didn't appreciate that as much as his nunchuck drawing skills. That changed once testosterone came onto the scene. (Melanie, if you read this, I'm sorry. We were dumb.)
-Mark Howell: Probably my best and fastest childhood friend, Mark and I spent many a day together at his house playing Nintendo's Olympic Track and Field (complete with pad!), making mud castles in his back-yard, and trying to figure out why Mark's older brothers were so mean. (They weren't, they were just bigger than us.) Plus, his sweet mother, Jane Howell, always had a huge stock of Sour Patch Kids, popcorn, and soda that she would produce at the perfect times. I learned how to love '80s movies like Ghostbusters and Goonies at the Howells.
-Dave Whittaker: I think. Dave was always hit and miss because he didn't go to elementary school with us, even though he lived two blocks away. However, he had the "Lego Loft" at his house, and countless army men that, when melted just right, could be made to look like they had been buried in the sidewalk concrete. Man, we loved the Whittaker house.
-Michael Garff: Mike and I used to play Indiana Jones in his backyard or Star Wars inside, depending on the weather. We also had cabins on the same lake, both raised rabbits, and I'm pretty sure I learned how to ride a bike with Mike and Ben Sorensen. Unfortunately, they didn't show me how to use the breaks. Thankfully, the oaks lining the streets of our neighborhood provided their own breaking system. How I didn't break my neck is beyond me...
-Timmy and Mikee Vogeler (6 and 4, respectively): for some reason, they really liked to play with me and my friends. At the time, nothing could have been more annoying. Timmy breathed too loudly when I was playing Nintendo, and Mikee cried too much when we wouldn't let him play. Gosh, why couldn't they just go to bed?! Thankfully, I outgrew that phase and we're now best buddies.
In fact, looking at this list, I can honestly say that I remained pretty close friends with all of these guys to this day. Not many people can say that.
Wow. Too nastalgic? Maybe. But summer does that sometimes. I think it's the smell of fresh-cut grass, the breeze off the gully, or the "ca-chuk, ca-chuck" of the sprinklers. Whatever it is, it's a good thing. I think I'll go get some ice cream tonight and watch a movie with friends. Life hasn't changed all that much really.