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July 2020

The Most Interesting Man You Know

John, Johnny, JB, Barry… doesn’t matter what you call him… today you call him the Birthday Boy. Happy Birthday, Honey! John and I have been together since we were whippersnappers and didn’t have two nickels to rub together. From the moment I met him I knew he was… well, different, lol, but in the best of ways. What makes John Inwood the most interesting man you know?

Well, for starters, the man loves his hair. And hair products. Which is all the more entertaining now because he doesn’t have any. Hair, I mean, lol. He has had a mullet and highlights and kept both meticulously groomed. With the decision to start shaving his head he turned his efforts to a seriously badass Viking kind of beard. Which also requires its own set of products. Sigh. The man really takes longer to get ready than I do. 🙂

Got Beard?

John has had more happen to him in his life than I thought even possible and he loves to tell the tales. John is a gifted storyteller and he can often be found at the center of a group regaling them with one misadventure after another. Ever given yourself your own stiches? John Inwood has. Smart mouthed a bunch of bikers? He lived to tell the tale. Barely, lol. Ever launched your bass boat into the lake without the plug in it? Yep, did that, too. I keep telling him to write a book so all this stuff doesn’t get forgotten. Maybe one day.

John Inwood is a man of passions. No, not that kind of passion, you naughty reader, you! – the one where you are totally into a hobby/interest and learn everything you can about it. Golf, the stock market, birds, growing a lawn, beer, disc golf, poker, Fantasy Football, you name it. If something piques JB’s curiosity he won’t rest until he has discovered everything about it. And then he puts it into action. You should see our backyard right now. Bird feeders have become a *thing* and we have the most spectacular arrangement hanging like art from the trees. On wires. It’s like Cirque de Soleil with the squirrels some mornings, performing acrobatic stunts to get from one feeder to the next. Sigh. Only John Inwood.

I really could go on and on, but I think the best way to put it is John Inwood is not so much a man as an experience, lol. He has spent 52 years on the planet Earth and it has been my good fortune to bear witness to his shenanigans for more than half of it. If I can keep him away from runaway power washers ( now THAT’S a story and a half!), he just might make it through another 50. HA! Love you, JB. Xxx

The FIrst Days

The Last Weekend

On Friday, April 10th, Luke took himself off the Addy and proceeded to have the most spectacular weekend. He smiled and laughed his way through the next few days, including what is now deemed a legendary party at Thad’s. It turned out that everyone Luke loved somehow was there, but hey, the Universe is tricky that way. My thoughts are… if you’re going to go out… isn’t this the way to do it? What does that quote say? Something to the effect of you want to slide into heaven, totally exhausted yelling, “Holy Sh*t – What a ride!” ? Mission accomplished. It does a momma good to think that Luke’s last weekend was with his friends doing all the things he loved.

When I decided I was going to write about the big party and those four days, I knew it wasn’t for me to tell the story – that it had to come from the lovelies. So I reached out – asking if they had anything suitable for the blog that they wouldn’t mind sharing. And only if they felt like it. I know what it is for me to revisit memories and I would never ask the kids to go there if they didn’t want to.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when all I received was the sound of crickets, lol. Since middle school, Luke and the lads had a motto that you never EVER tell your parents what is really going on in your world, and so it goes. 🙂 I think you will agree with me that this is the way it should be. This larger than life long weekend, this beyond epic gathering, burned into their memories, but shared only between them.

So instead, today I leave you with a song. No, it is not a song to represent Luke and the boys because I can’t speak to that. It is a song that represents those unforgettable nights. You know the ones….because we have all had them. Where the vibe is just so incredible and you are looking around and thinking how amazing the night is and how happy you are and how people that aren’t there are going to wish they were there. The nights you talk about for the the rest of your life when you get together with your friends or your buddies. I don’t think any of the kids could have possibly known that this was going to be their last with Luke… and one of those nights. Xxx

The Rise and Fall

Who Knew

“You home/awake?”

Now, when my phone goes off at 8:30 am it’s something. I confess I am not a phone person – it doesn’t live in my hand and I don’t check it a million times a day to make sure I am not missing anything going on in the world, lol. When I am home it sits in a basket on the counter in the kitchen. If I hear it ding I will wander over and see what is what. Usually. My close friends and family will tell you that’s probably an almost never, HA! But hey, I am the one telling the story here.

So, as I was saying, I was sitting in my chair in the living room finishing off coffee number two when my phone dings. And then dings again. So I figure something is up and make my way over to the far counter and take a look at my messages. It’s Chris – one of Luke’s oldest and dearest friends.

“Hey Chris! As in you want to chat or you want to come over?” I replied. I am not surprised a young sir wants to visit or talk. As I have written before, many of the lovelies will come over or call me up when they want to hash out something going on in their lives. I don’t tell them anything different than their parents would… I am just not their parents, lol. And therein lies my popularity.

“I’m coming over.”

“Hey there… give me ten minutes. I will meet you out back.” What he doesn’t see is that I am still in my jammies and haven’t brushed my teeth OR put in my contacts and almost no one sees me in glasses these days. Well before I know it, I can hear footsteps clomping up the wood stairs and the screened-in porch door creak open. I quickly throw on a sundress (because what else does one wear to a morning chat session?) and head down to the main level. And there he is. Ruggedly handsome with dark curly hair, bearded up, and wait a minute… yep, smelling distinctly of *eau de Budwieser*, lol.

“Are we hugging?” I ask, although I am not sure I would have taken no for an answer.

“We’re hugging.” Chris gives me a very decent squeeze for a young person. I always say good hugging is a learned art and takes years of experience, but some of us are more gifted huggers, lol. We head out to the upper deck where it is shady and have a seat. Turns out Chris had spent the night with some Rutland friends. There were beers involved and he had crashed in town for the night. Smart move, I am thinking to myself. But hey, this kid has always been smart.

Iced coffee in hand, Chris starts to talk. And hey, this kid has always been a talker, too, so there is no shortage of conversation. We talk about everything under the sun – memories of growing up in Rutland, me being his librarian, a little about Luke, a lot about life, his job, his family. Turns out he didn’t need fixing, he just needed a fix – of us, of the Inwoods. And it was just such a good two or three hours. Honestly, I didn’t notice how much time had passed until I went in to get us all some water; John had joined us at some point. I eventually had to kick him out and send him on his way because I was taking a flourless chocolate cake to a friend’s house that afternoon and that dessert was not going to bake itself. We hugged, of course, amid promises of seeing one another soon. My fingers are still crossed.

What Chris couldn’t possibly have known was I was having a hard week. I look forward to the day when the Fourth of July doesn’t drag my heart down missing Luke and all the memories of the kids during year after year of our amazing small town celebrations. But it wasn’t to be this year. I was low, and truth be told, crying every damn day. Working out and crying, eating salad and crying, watering the flowers and crying. I just couldn’t keep my emotions in check. Even John recognized the direness of the situation and suggested we go up and see Logan – my surefire, feel better solution.

But after Friday morning, I felt better. Chris had come over and reminded me that my boy had one heck of a friend group and you know what I tell myself – if kids this great loved my boy, he must’ve been alright. By sitting in that wicker chair and sharing everything going on in his world, Chris made us feel connected and important and loved; like maintaining our relationship was a big deal to him. It is in those moments that John and I get a glimpse, even if just a small one, of life at 23. Turns out Chris wasn’t the only one needing a fix that Friday. I needed my 23 year old fix, too. Love you, buddy. Xxx

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