Monday, March 31, 2014

30 in 30: Nick Scully

This is my twenty-third article in y 30 in 30 challenge, where I write 30 things I'm thankful for in the 30 days leading up to my thirtieth birthday.

I learned very early on that friendship should not be hinged on the age of a person. If age factored into to friendship, this post would fail to exist. I met Nick Scully when I was 10 years old. Nick was the neighbor of my sister Jennifer, and while I don't know all of the details (I was just a young pup at the time), I am so grateful for how their friendship developed, because Nick just became apart of the family and one of our closed friends.

Theresa and I were going to go to the swim club with our sister Kathy, but when the rain foiled our plans, she asked us if we were up for an adventure.

Little I know that this adventure would continue, even today.
High school graduation, 2002
We got to Jennifer's house and instead of going into her apartment, we walked into Nick's home and saw Nick, just sitting there in his dining room watching the cars zoom up the highway. Kathy introduced us to Nick and he offered us a seat around the table.

The table was as comfortable as a bed because there had to have been approximately 3,425 vinyl table clothes stapled to the table. The theory behind this was that the table cloth kept the table new looking, but also when you get tired of one, you just throw a new one on there. Ingenious.

Kathy grabbed a few coloring books and we just sat, colored and talked with Nick. It seemed so simple.

That one meeting turned into several, which turned into dinner, which turned into weekly visits with our buddy, Nick. By the time Theresa and I were old enough to drive, we found ourselves driving down to see Nick on our own. Not only did he have an endless supply of root beer, star burst and caramel creams a girl could ask for, but the stories he would share from his military days were priceless.

More than anything though, being with Nick was peaceful. There could be visits where only a few words were spoken and the rest of the time we would just sit there, in the dining room listening to the police scanner or classical music. This is one of the most valuable lessons I learned in my life: just being present. All I had to do was show up. That's it. That's all we needed from each other, was for us to be together. We didn't have to impress one another with words, we just had to be present. When I catch myself talking through the silence, I just stop and shut up and I let the heart do the talking.

Nick was a grumpy old man. Who could blame him? he suffered from ridiculous migraines and to put it his terms, he would pop percocets like jelly beans and it would do absolutely nothing for his headaches. Even with the chronic headaches, Nick still approached every day with a smile, and a sarcastic quip. This taught me to push through. Life gives us cruddy days and we just have to push through.

Nick was a tremendous human being and one of my greatest and dearest friends. It's hard to believe he will be gone three years in July. He lived a very long and fulfilled life, but that doesn't make my miss him any less. I sometimes sit in complete silence and I just listen for his voice to rush through me with his classic one-liners like, "Give her a go, Yank." or "Catch you on the flip-flop." I smile when I pass the cheese whiz in the grocery store, and remember the warning he gave EVERY TIME that there would be dried nasty cheese in the tube and to just put it on a napkin. Pink Starburst and caramel creams just don't taste the same without him around.

His influence continues to live on in me through my humor and also in the love I give to my family and friends. And if I feel like I am failing in life, all I have to remember is to just show up, have a seat around the table and say hello. Everything else beyond that will fall into place.

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