As I sit in my hotel room, far from home, I am missing my other life. The life I have at home. The one most normal non-road warriors have everyday. I flash back to the days of Halleck Coach and our own Centerton Mafia. It began with a block party, a chance to meet and greet the neighbors. With my social anxiety kicking in full force, I naturally resisted. I stocked the cooler with beer and was quickly scolded. "Don't you think that is a little tacky? We don't even know these people", I was reminded. I didn't think so. If they thought it was tacky, then we should just pack up and move!
Turns out it wasn't. Everyone else was doing the same thing. Rum and coke hidden in tall tumblers. Koozies concealing beer cans and the initial awkwardness that begins such a social gathering of complete strangers. That is where it began. We found friends from all walks of life that night...and the next weekend, and the next. They became our group. We became the Centerton Mafia. A triangle of friendship was formed from two doors down and across the street. Our venue: the driveway.
That was the summer of 2005. It has been a very short two years since then and we have all managed to go our separate ways leaving behind Sienna Estates and the many memories. Ann and Jeff moved to OKC. Kristal and Michael have since parted ways. We have moved to Stoney Creek. But when the moment is right and the stars are aligned, we meet and pick up like time has been suspended just for us. It reminds me of the friends my parents had when they were my age. They weren't a part of our lives for long, but they have left a lasting impact and have managed to remain close for more than 25 years despite living far apart.
It is the little things in life that make us who we are and in my philosophical mind it makes us keenly aware that we are part of something much larger. How can a small group of people from different backgrounds, varying ages, and with few things in common make such an impact on each other? Simple. We all needed each other. We each brought something unique and rewarding to the group. Kristal and I provided comic relief and endless laughter through our antics, Cindy and Ann a healthy dose of practicality and wit, Jeff and Michael a passion for childhood dreams and anything mechanical. We fit like a glove. I see a part of myself in each of them today for it has helped mold my adulthood. After all, we battled Saturday night hangovers and managed to rock out at the Shiloh Street service on Sunday mornings, now that is perseverance! We felt the pain of the others even when it was never mentioned on the driveway. The flamingos, the forks, the chalking, the late night gnome-napping...each etched in my mind for the rest of my days.
Although our time in the triangle was short...the experience was full. I think we all came away with a sense that distance and time are no match for true friendship. Peace to my peeps...the CM.