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Good Bye

On Friday December 3 2010 this world lost an amazing person and I lost a treasured friend.  Christopher Parks was more of a brother than a friend.  He was an inspiration in my life and will always be a major influence in my life.
There are very few people that I know who have known and maintained contact with a person for almost their entire life.  I met Chris in elementary school.  He, his brother, sister and mother lived at the end of my street for a while.  I remember Chris and I walking home from school and having a kitten follow us home.  Not sure what happened to that cat.. I remember playing with a turtle he had.  We brought it down to the brook which was close to our houses.  We played with the turtle for a while in the brook and hmm, gone.  Chris and his family moved off the street but we always saw each other in school.  That's the nice thing about a small town.
In middle school I recall getting in some trouble in math class. LOL! I had this duffel bag that could be unzipped and expanded into a larger bag.  Well I unzipped it, expanded it, crawled inside and asked Chris to zip me up.  Where's Rob go asks the teacher.  I remember a halloween dance.  Chris and Hardy (also passed) made hand made nunchaku and brought them to the dance.  Back then we didn't worrry about that kind of thing.  It was all in good fun.
Chris was an inspiration to me, he made me want to break out of my comfort zone.  I was/am a person who used/uses humor to project myself.  In High School, I started working out with weights behind the school with some seniors.  After a while a small group of us including Chris got permission to convert an old storage room(closet) into the high schools first weight room.  We no longer needed to hall the benches and weights outside.  We had a real indoor gym.  Very basic but fun.  I got a job at Footlocker when I turned 16 and soon brought in several of my friends as co-workers.  Chris was one of the first.  In my Junior year I joined Che-Lu Karate which Chris had been doing for a few years.  Again, having humor as my shield was my comfort zone, physically making contact with people in a confrontation previously would result in tear from me before I even got started.  Learning how to control my body and be comfortable in stressful situations has helped me immensely. I won't say I was ever close to Chris's talent in the martial arts but my appreciation the arts and working my body beyond both physical and mental boundaries will always be with me.
College came and off I went to the University of Tampa and Chris to UNH.  Remeber back in the day when people actually wrote and mailed letters.  Well we did and we remained in touch.     I transferred back to UNH 2nd semester sophomore year.  I walked into Lambda Chi Alpha and stood in the door way of Chris's room, just leaning there until he noticed me.  He looked up, "Hey man". "Holly Shit!"  "What are you doing here?" he asked.  "I missed the cold" I replied.  I joined Lambda Chi Alpha along with many Oyster River grads and Chris was there.
Senior year we were roommates at Nicks Bricks.  What a year! Much of it was a blur.  When we weren't in class or at Nicks we were at our church. Gold's Gym in Dover.
After we graduated we decided it  was time to get  out of NH.  San Diego here we come.  We took turns driving.  I remember stopping at truck stops to stretch our legs.  We'd throw our football around for 20 minutes or so just to burn off some stress.
Once in San Diego we moved around a few times over the next 2 years.  We live across the street for a Gold's Gym so we could work out twice a day.  LOL there were times we were so broke we would scrounge up our change to buy some food just to tide us over until we got to work and could get food there.  I moved back to NH in 1992 and Chris stayed.  We kept in touch.  He missed my wedding in 94 but that was ok I knew he would have made it if he could have.  By 1996 he was back in NH.  The night before my son Adam was born, Heidi and I went to Poco Diablos.  Heidi had a craving for Nachos.   Chris happened to be working there and brought me over a shot.  He knew I needed a drink to relax.
In 1998 when I was brought into the hospital with complete back spasms Chris came to visit.  I don't remember this as I was too hopped up on morphine but apparently he hung out with me for quite a while.  Also in 1998 my son Brian Christopher was born.  We named him after Christopher Bryan, yeah spelling get over it.
The years have flown by now and we have always kept in touch.  We'd get together every once in a while or call each other out of the blue.  It was always easy to talk.  We could always catch up with ease.  We chatted  online, on the phone.  When I was on the road for work and sitting in a bar having dinner by myself I would call just to say hello.  One of the last messages from him was, "I miss you man."  Well, Chris I miss you too.


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Grilling is a year-round event. 
I love being able to get outside regardless of the weather and grilling gives me the opportunity.
I loved to be outside enjoying the quiet of nature or the sound of kids playing in the neighborhood.  The wind through the trees or the birds chirping. 
Fall brings a new treat. The crispness in the air. The changing of colors and the smell of a wood stove warming the house.
Soon I'll need to clean up the yard.  Put the chairs away before the snow fall flies.  I still have some wood to split. It will go on the back of the stack.
I'll probably mow the lawn once more this season before I rotate the mower to the back of the garage and the snow blower to the front.  Oh yes, I must get some shear pins.
Never a dull moment.  For now I'll enjoy my steak.