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I would have offered him a testicle if he needed it.

Issue Date: Friday, Apr. 13, 2007

Oh Holy ripped-abs Christ in a birch bark canoe.

I was one of those people yesterday. You know. One of those people? And I am a wee bit ashamed. I work in a cube farm and today (like most days) I talked loudly and with much long-windedness into a phone. Cell phone/work phone, it didn’t matter bitches because I had some findin’ out to do.

Sorry cube neighbors, and sorry boss man. My boss was mortified as I said “Testicle” and “Cancer” several times, out loud. Did I mention that I was loud. And also a bit on the anxious side? Which makes ME TALK EVEN LOUDER!?

I got an email yesterday morning from my mother.

No, no, she wasn’t getting onto my about being fat. She just wanted to pass on that she had heard it through the grapevine that one of my high school buds was battling testicular cancer while his father was battling pancreatic cancer.

The fuck?

Okay. To give you a little background. Check out these entries right here.

Or not.

Here’s the brief version. There was a girl, she clicked with two boys/men… they stuck together through thick and thin all through high school, senior high and college. These boys/men had a group of friends that were awesome enough to accept the newest member and the only female into their click… and? They would laugh at the girl’s jokes. How awesome were they? So fucking awesome.

Then tragedy struck, the girl (me) had her head up her ass and ended up marrying a redneck local in the town she went to college in. The end.

I still think of them as my boys. I still think of them almost everyday, well, I still think of Bean and Steve almost everyday. Fleeting thoughts of the others come and go. They came and went like a brush fire in West Texas the weekend of the Kerr Krew gathering because there were pictures of the boys and their crew sprinkled throughout the photo albums that were shared… and some of the Kerr Krew went to Senior High with the group of my boys while Stephanie and I went to another school. Woe was me.

Woe. I tell you.

So years have come and gone. It will be 17 years this June since we all graduated high school. It will be 15 years since Bean made his way back to Dallas from West Texas. It will be 13 years since he married a girl I knew from church. It will be three years this June that his daddy passed. Steve and I are both on our second marriages; Shawn is still in his first, Mickey… has three kids. Jake? Jake has twin girls and has since divorced. Brandon finally got married and I think Bean lost a $20 bet on that one.

The last time I saw all of them (except Mickey) was almost five years ago.

There was a joint 30th birthday party for two of the Hawgs and it was awesome. Why haven’t we kept in touch? Life I guess but yesterday?


Yesterday I got an email that was forwarded to my mother from one of my sister’s ya-ya’s from high school/college. Said friend (Ann) forwarded the email to my mother because she remembered that I used to hang out with that particular group of boys. One of the boys and his father are battling cancer.


I got a bit (heh, yeah, a bit) anxious and started calling all the numbers I had from the group. I called the home numbers, I called Ann to see if she had a number or an email to the matriarch of the family. I emailed the last known email from the Shawn and his wife Stef. The email bounced back. I started calling work numbers, ex-wives. I just needed to call and offer… I don’t know, food? Babysitting services? Errands run? I just needed to… well, to be honest, I needed to reconnect with my boys. I needed to offer support. I needed to hear their voices. I selfishly needed some reassurance.

No phones were answered. No calls connected. No voice mails returned.

Except one.

At about three o’clock yesterday afternoon my cell phone rang. I answered it and heard a familiar voice, “Hey Sue.” I breathed. I took another breath and said, “Bean, how are you sweetie? I just heard about Shawn. Please tell me what is happening.” Bean related the news and surprisingly, it was pretty good news. I will save the details for someone else to tell. Or maybe I will tell you when I get even better news from Shawn on the tests he had yesterday.

Bean and I talked for an hour. We went over how he was doing, his family, his newest baby, a little boy that he says looks just like him and his job. We talked about his momma, his career track, his brother and how his daddy passed. I apologized for not being there for the funeral. I apologized for being such an asshole when we were younger. I apologized for bringing Marcus (Dear Lord.) to a dinner we had with a part of the group and their wives at a Mexican place back in like 2001 or 2002. I kept apologizing to this man that I grew up with. He kept telling me that everything was fine, that he has always loved me and will continue to do so, that I am like family. He slipped into his old habit of calling me babe. And yet? I still apologized.

He told me about his daddy getting sick and giving up liquor and how their relationship healed.

He told me that his father died loving his mother.

Oh y’all. You don’t have the slightest clue how hard it was for me to hear that and keep my composure.

I told him all about Mister and that I knew marriage was supposed to be like this but I never thought I was worth it. I told him about my job and my momma and daddy and the rest of my family. He said, “Susan, you know, your father is the only man I have ever been afraid of?” When he said that I thought to the times when his father drank. Bean was in high school and the two of them would get into yelling matches and sooner or later it would end up with punches thrown. I remember one of them throwing the other through a wall. I can’t tell you to this day which was which, but I know that booze was his father’s identity stealer and Bean escaped to my house.

Sometimes I think that he mixed up fear for respect. He respected my father. I don’t know if he ever respected his daddy until he got sick and got off the booze.

We would go driving some nights just to get out. We would end up at a park or going to a skating rink, bowling, to the movies.

I think that Jacob’s Ladder is still one of my favorite movies because Bean took me to that show at the dollar theater. He had already been once but he didn’t get it. I think he really did, he just wanted me to feel smart. So we sat there and talked about the plot in hushed tones and his eyes would sparkle when he would make an act of getting something, “OH, so… that’s… okay….”.

Normally we would just drive.

We would drive from one side of our town to the other remarking on the changes in landscape and everything that had been built or torn down since we met. We talked about life in college and how different we would be. We talked about our futures a lot. Neither one of us could wait to grow up.

It was so cathartic to talk to him and for him to give me an hour of his time to just chat was one of the greatest gifts I have received.

At the end of the phone call I asked for Shawn’s number so I could call and check up on him and when Bean and I hung up I felt so elated and so sad that we had let so much time lapse between speaking with one another.

I called Shawn and when he answered I introduced myself as “Susan Maiden Name”. Shawn was so awesome, he is going through this battle but took the time to say, “Hi sweetie how are you?” I told him that I had heard through (grapevine diagram here) about what was going on with his father and with him and that I just got off the phone with Bean. Shawn caught me up and we discussed how he was and the tests that he just went through that morning.

I offered food, babysitting services, errands run. I would have offered him a testicle if he needed it. I love these men, they have always been so incredible to me and I never want to lose that connection again. Shawn said that they would take me up on the babysitting because things have been crazy and he and his wife have not had a moment to themselves in ages.

We talked about the past and some old friends and we laughed about promising to be one another’s back ups when we were younger. “Okay if we are not married by 40 (or was it 30?) we are totally getting married. Deal?” “Deal.”

I just hope that we all stay in touch. I don’t want to lose a one of them. I want to know their children and their wives and their new families. These men were my rock when I was young. They made me laugh during some of the saddest times in my life and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.


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To understand this dear reward (above) at all, you must hie thee on and read gatsby’s grape ape entry and my comments.

And because of said comments he sent me my very own dream turtle in an email titled wee gift with these words attached, “my purple monkey is booked solid so i ordered you a tangerine turtle. hope he proves helpful.”

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