Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thirteen Memories Of Ed

Today's post is a list of thirteen memories I have of my friend Ed Dryer.
As you remember from my Tuesday post, Ed passed away recently.

Most of my memories are from when we went to Adrian College together. I was there from 1989-1992, and he was there from 1988 til about 1990.

1. There was a TV room in the basement of our dorm. Ed loved this room. It was like his sanctuary. He could often be seen on the sofa in front of the TV, vegging out. It was in that basement that I saw my first MTV video. This, of course, was back in the days when MTV actually PLAYED VIDEOS.

2. About a block or two away from the dorm, there was a gas station/convenience store called "Wesco." Ed often would walk there in the evening, to get snacks. He loved Hawaiian Punch and would buy a 2-liter for himself. Sometimes I accompanied him on this walk; other times he was sweet enough to bring me back things. My favorite things were these little microwave pizzas. It wasn't grand cuisine, of course, but it was quick and easy. They were tiny deep-dish pizzas about the size of a frozen waffle. Small but good. After procuring our stash of snacks, Ed and I would sit in the front lobby of the dorm and eat our goodies while reading or studying or just chatting. Good times.

3. His feet stank. Apparently they were far more pungent than those of mere mortal man. They had a reputation. The guys who lived in his corridor swore that the smell crept out from under his door and permeated the entire hallway. And... um.... yeah, I have to say, it honestly did. He did his best to quell the problem, but swore that no matter what he tried, nothing worked.

4. One of the first things I noticed when I met him was that he liked to have his socks match his shirt. After the third or fourth time I saw this, I commented to him, " Your socks match your shirt again today!". He just smiled and said "Always!"

5. He loved reading about vampires, and was especially fond of the Anne Rice novels. He made me want to read one, although I never got around to it. He loved talking about vampire tales and legends, and sometimes said he would like to get bitten so he could become one of the undead.

6. He started out as a history major, but didn't end up staying in college. He ended up working in landscaping, which seemed to fit him better. He seemed happy there. Other than the fact that the company truck was a hunk of junk, he spoke well of his landscaping job.

7. He was kinda bad with directions. When he gave me directions on how to get to his home in Howell, MI, he accidentally had me turn the wrong way. While I was lost, I saw a sign announcing that I had arrived in Hell. (Hell, Michigan, that is). I had fun teasing him about that. :)

8. He was one of those guys who preferred to print rather than to write in cursive. His printing was big and messy, but still he wrote me letters now and then. It was fun to read, because some of his words were extra BIG for emphasis.

9. There's a song by INXS that starts out with "Don't ask me.... what you know is true...." Somehow, one day, during a moment of silliness, we changed the words to "Don't ask me... what I'm doing!" Whenever we were doing something stupid or embarrassing, one of us would just start singing "Don't ask me.... what I'm doing...." And we would crack up.

10. He was a sorta heavyset guy, and he firmly believed that when he wore a winter coat and stocking cap, he looked exactly like Cartman from South Park.

11. One night we went to a park downtown and got drunk on wine coolers. (I know, I know, we were a couple of wusses). But we had such fun. One of us discovered that if you looked up at the stars while twirling around in a circle, it would make you REALLY dizzy. Especially dizzy while "under the influence". We giggled and laughed and started telling really DUMB jokes... jokes that were purposely stupid, just to see if the other person would laugh. (And of course we did.) Our favorite that night was this one:

Q. Why did the chicken cross the road?
A. To get to the barber shop!

I know, it makes no sense. Stupid as heck. But when you're drunk, trust me, this is utterly hilarious. I still laugh when I remember it.... even when I'm sober. :)

12. One night, when he and another friend and I were sitting on the front steps of the dorm, we noticed an ambulance loudly arriving toward the apartment community across the street from us. An elderly couple lived in one of the apartments. After what seemed like a long time, we saw the paramedics bring out one of the people on a stretcher and load him into the back of the ambulance. Rather than rushing loudly to the hospital with sirens wailing, however, the ambulance simply drove quietly away at a normal pace. We were silent for a moment, and Ed said what we were thinking:
"It's... not... going... very... ... fast." (He said it just that slowly, with a pause in between each word.) It was a bittersweet kind of humor, capturing our own mortality as well as our desire for the ambulance to at least TRY to go faster.

13. This is my very favorite memory of Ed, and I've saved it for last. One winter at college, there was a ton of snow. Ed and I were going through a stressful time, each with our own separate problems, and one night we walked out to the bell tower. One of us would find (or make) a big glob of snow or ice and stand right behind it.
First we'd announce "THIS IS FOR...."
...Then we'd announce one of the things that was irritating us...
Then, POW, full force, we'd proceed to kick that snow/ice ball into powder with a single blow.
Then it was the next person's turn. Find a mass of frozen stuff to kick, state something that was really bothering you, then KICK it as hard as you could. POW.
We stayed out there for over an hour, doing this, taking turns.
(Some topics got "kicked" more than once).
After awhile, we'd gotten into hurtful topics from our childhoods, family members that had hurt us, friends that had done bad things. Even abstract things that couldn't be nailed down easily, we still tried to form into words somehow before kicking.
It was very, very therapeutic and cathartic. Sort of like hitting a punching bag. People probably saw us and wondered what the heck we were doing, but it didn't matter. We were used to being "weird" and kind of enjoyed it. We felt a lot better afterward.
It was a combination of things: The physical catharsis of putting all our energy into each kick, plus the release of being able to SAY things aloud we might not otherwise have said at all, plus the knowledge that we were being heard and accepted by each other while doing so.
This is my favorite memory of all the time I spent with Ed.

He was good to me. He was a patient, tolerant, forgiving friend, and I miss him.
Thank you, Ed, for being my friend.

Tomorrow, hopefully, I will be ready to get back to more humorous topics.
Thank you, to ALL of you who read down this far. That means a lot to me.



katherine. said...

good memories of a good friend.

your stories give a good sense of who he is in your life. I am sorry he has passed.

Meloncutter said...

Thank you for letting us get to know him a little bit.

Later Y'all.

Lynda said...

Sounds like some great memories.

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

Sounds like a jewel of a friend. I'm sorry for your loss. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your friend with us. I can see why he was so special to you. Definitely send his parents a note, I think they would like to know how much he was treasured by you. Next winter, kick an ice ball for the fates that took him away too soon.

Anonymous said...


metalmom said...

Ed sounds like a swell guy. You were lucky to have a friend like him.

Shelli said...

What a wonderful tribute to Ed. Again, I am reminded of Fab. Again, I'm sorry for your loss.


Teri said...

It's nice to know that Janna feels so deeply about her friends.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Marilyn said...

Everybody could use a friend like that. College friends are the best. I never miss the people I knew in high school, but I'm always sorry I didn't stay in contact with my college buddies.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Janna said...

Everyone: THANK you for reading, and for your kind comments. It really means a lot.

Padraigin said...

All I can say is HUGS to you. I know how hard it can be. I lost tweo very good friends and people I grew up with in the World Trade Center/911 attacks. I still don't think iu've come to grips with or gotten over (do we ever really get over it?) Take all the time you need...death is never easy. I have my mom here for the next month and next week it will be 8 years since my dad about tough...

Travis said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss.

Janna said...

Padraigin: Your mom will be there for a whole month???!

Travis: Thank you.