To a best friend on his birthday:
I’ve re-written this a few times now… looking back over old blog posts, digging up old photos; this year has been sticky sweet with nostalgia and gratitude of such genuine magnitude that I fear sometimes my heart might burst from overuse.
And you two? You are so astoundingly dear to me.
For those readers who aren’t featured, below is a list of the aforementioned dear ones and myself, of course:
Jerry Allen: St. Louis
Sammy Caleb: St. Louis —> Kansas City —> St. Louis —> Denver
Haley Loria: Denver
On a whim— or, rather, the invitation of your sweet wife, Sammy and I, we drove a day’s worth to dive back in. We showed up to a chorus of, “Oh my gosh. Sheesh. Oh, boy. Oh, boy. I’m elated. Gosh. You kidding me?”
You two, man. You’re friends of my mind. Always with wordplay— the inside jokes so intricate and remembered it’s like a language. I remember meeting you guys— remember coming home with an excitement and relief I had no words for.
Watching the two of you (that is: you and Sammy) interact has always been an endless source of vicarious joy for me (and, I’m sure, anyone who’s lucky enough to experience you together). It’s almost as though you were born with the capacity and determination to be utterly happy all the time; that happiness is being perpetually in each other’s company.
Ours is a friendship that has ripened, not rotted, over time. Hi ho.
I read somewhere that you only get to keep what you refuse to let go of, and it blows my mind to think that the idiot kids we were identified each other as quality— as keepers— and continued to enthusiastically keep in contact across state lines. We— each other to one another— we are who and what makes us— the other— choke on laughs, makes our— their— skin burn with joy.
How’s that Doomtree song go?
“Real recognize real”?
Happy birthday, Jerry.
We sure do miss you.