Monday, I got the call from my sister with a time and day reminder, which I’m sure is 15 minutes before I actually have to meet her to go to Family Christmas.
I am a huge family guy. The traditions I’ve made with my family have remained practically eternal. Unfortunately, I don’t always get a chance to see my family throughout the year to keep those traditions going. This year, however, I have made many new friends who have taken on some of my family traditions.
I have thought back to the times I spent having the finest pints with my father, who was singing along to the tunes of the live band playing. Those have turned into nights of karaoke, which have given a new definition to “Hurt So Good.” I am sure if karaoke venues in town made spoof reels, they would’ve included many of my duets with my good friend and co-worker, Ty Rushing.
The legendary gaming battles I used to have with my grandfather have turned into epic competitions with my good friend and co-worker, Dustin Turner. It has also lead to reminding Ty he needs to work on his gaming skills — but hey, that’s what New Year’s Resolutions are for.
The conversations of the women in my family mostly revolve around how weird a group of guys can be and what kind of mischief they get themselves into. This has been replaced by my female friends, who wonder the same thing as my friends and I walk into a room.
I have to give special credit in the group category to my good friend Nicole Lindstrom, who no matter how weird stuff gets, she still puts up with all of us.
There’s also that crazy relative you wonder how truly crazy they are. In my family, the running joke is, “normal is just a relative theory.” Although she is not a relative, she matches the theory, so thanks to my friend Lucinda Sinclair for reminding me how much I miss my crazy cousins and distant relatives, even when I don’t want to admit it.
There is, of course, the jaw dropping moments at Christmas that make me speechless. This instantly reminds me of former Daily News staff writer, and good friend, Dave Hon, “flapping his wings” as he finished out his last night in Newton.
It’s hard to believe a guy who brands himself as “The Hometown Kid” is just starting to feel at home here in Newton. I know as I have a cold adult beverage with my dad and grandma this Family Christmas, I won’t be able to not think about how the first beverage of New Year’s Eve will go down just as smooth.
As I sit talking sports with my grandpa, it will remind me how awesome it’s going be to watch the sporting events of the New Year with “the boys.” When the women folk of the family remind me to take it easy while out with the boys, I will instantly be reminded of the times my female friends remind me “not to be weird.”
In the season of giving, I have received so much. I know it wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for those three guys and two girls coming into my “family.”
• • •
I recently had the chance to see one of my favorite actors mourn his best friend’s death. Vin Diesel has been the most inspirational I have ever seen him in losing his best friend, Paul Walker.
I think about what would happen if those two guys had never met. We certainly wouldn’t have had the amazing 10-plus-year “Fast & Furious” movie series.
It’s simple, but ultimately, my personal journey of 2013 would have never happened if it weren’t for me meeting one of my new best friends. I know several people have given him amazing shout outs, but what can you say about what this guy has done?
Do I talk about his charm and eloquent words? Or about the many conversations had off of the clock? Or props about his knowledge and passion for sports?
Or in the season of giving, do I give you his comedic gifts? Like wondering how truly big does a shoe closet need to be?
Or what is the record for most items bought in a single visit to the Dollar Tree in Newton? Or to remind him there’s always next year for a Super Bowl ring?
I have to constantly remind myself he is a Kansas City Chiefs fan (go Broncos).
I remember seeing the break in his eyes when he found out he didn’t place at the upcoming INA Better Newspaper Contest awards. But, simply put, I know — just as everyone else he has come in contact with — that he is a community champion every time he writes something. Magic happens.
So, thanks for the gift of bringing me back home, my wingman — my friend — Ty Rushing.