The Zoey Blog: Strange, sun shining days... FINAL - COVER UNIVERSE EXPLORERS ORDER

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Strange, sun shining days...

What a beautiful sun shining week. It's cold, but the sun is bright and the days are going mostly as they should. I've stepped back a little from the school work, partly because the phone has quieted, and partly because I've decided to make myself a little less available and subsequently, taken for granted. Don't mistake this tone for unhappiness or some kind of disgruntled whatever...I've just strayed from my 14 year old mantra of "don't do much and they won't expect much," and I've struggled meeting the expectations from two hundred directions. Most people have one or two bosses. I have seventeen or so. Anyway, it's been a good week of re-evaluating how my time gets used.

Suddenly yesterday I check my messages and there's one from a good friend telling me that our friend, Danny, had passed away. He was thirty-nine. It kind of threw me for a loop. Its still doing a pretty good number on me. It's not the age as much as its what Danny was. He was the best hockey player I ever remembered. He played some Major Junior, made all of us look stupid on skates when we were kids, and generally made us believe that a game could do crazy things for people. He's the guy who, for me, is perpetually sixteen and whirring around us all with a smile and cold wind whoosh as he slipped past on the outside and zinged a shot past your ear. He was kind of above leaving us, which of course, is ridiculous. He certainly should have been above leaving us before his 40th birthday.

So the sun is still out but I'm a little distracted. I've been remembering a lot of great stories and living my life in the here and now all at the same time. I've turned into a guy who isn't much for the past. I've mostly sped forward finding new enterprises, meeting new people, leaving mistakes and successes in the past. Sure I'll talk about this or that but I never wanted to go back to those places. Now suddenly I'm finding myself feeling like a sixteen year old kid who won't be seeing Danny tying up his skates across the room and I'm kinda looking forward to the next game or practice that won't ever come.

I sent a message to an old friend, John, to tell him the news. I spent almost every year of my young hockey life with John, at least until our middle teenage years, and he responded with a muted, "Wow," which is about the most any of us can manage to blurt out. More often than not we weren't on Danny's teams. He was a step better, and every couple of years a division above us, but as I grew older our paths crossed on the rink more frequently, until one day hockey was gone for all of us and we rarely saw one another. Even John and I only recently reconnected, and oddly enough, it wasn't hockey that did it. It was daughters.

It's just so strange to hear the news that Danny has died, and I certainly didn't anticipate this reaction. My brother, Brad, got in touch with his former club, the Belleville Bulls, to let them know that Dan had passed, and got a pretty heart warming reply back. I'm sure Brad will be taking it to Dan's family. I'm glad that he thought to do that. The words from his former keepers in Belleville was that they had remembered that, "Dan's short time playing hockey in Belleville had been maybe the happiest of his life." Those of us that knew Dan also knew that it was bookended by some of his earliest troubled times. He had suffered losses early and then they began to accumulate. He rallied in adulthood, as most of us do, and found similar happiness in family and children etc...but now, his life falling just short of forty, those good times seem terribly distant.

Like I said, it's just so strange to hear the news that Danny has died. The best hockey player that I ever remember, and no coincidence, I think, that the sun has been shining all week long.


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