Sunday, May 28, 2006

Bitter End

Well, my good friend Tony Cloyd sold his house. He and his wife Julie and their kids Cameron, Chelsea, and Madison are moving to the land of The Jayhawks, Paul Westerberg, Bob Dylan, Prince, and Walter Mondale. Oh, yea, and Spam.

I've known the Cloyds for ten years and it would be impossible to put into words what their friendship means to me. It would be close to impossible to list everything we've done together during this decade-long friendship.

This talk of moving to Minnesota has been ongoing. So much so that, to be honest, I didn't think it would ever happen. It was more like a running gag and not something I thought I would have to face. Maybe I seem childish here, but it's starting to hit me now and I feel like some grade school kid who's forced to move because dad got a new job. You know, the kid who says he's mad at his parents because they're moving, but really "mad" is just easier to show than "sad."

So, no I'm not mad. I'm actually happy for my friends because their dreams are coming true. Tony got a great new job and they've got a new house being built. It's the stuff I've been praying about with them. But, now like the person who prayed for patience and then had to face the growth opportunities in order to have the prayer granted, I'm sitting here, mouth open, and dazed. The truth is that it's becoming increasingly difficult to release people. When it's because of a "blessing" people often describe it as "bitter sweet," but the "sweet" is only for the people that are leaving, not the people releasing. With that in mind, I've been listening to the new Dixie Chicks album and this one song has really been hitting me and, frankly, making it more difficult to think about the Cloyds leaving.

Fittingly, this song called "Bitter End" was co-written with The Jayhakws lead singer, Gary Louris, who is, of course, from Minnesota. Here's a taste of the lyrics and I dedicate them to Tony, Julie, Cameron, Chelsea, and Madison.

"Farewell to old friends - Let's raise a glass to the bitter end - Farewell to old friends - Will you be the same when we see you again - Remember the days - When we'd laugh as you played - Who would have known - The water would come and just take you away"

So in just under three weeks I will be saying farewell to old friends. Cloyds, I'm going to miss you and, at times it's going to feel like I've had an arm hacked off. But, like the Black Knight, I'll be smiling and saying, "It's only a flesh wound." Seriously, even as I write this, I know that it's not really goodbye and my "sweet" part will come when our families are reunited and I'm laughing with you under your new roof. Thanks for being such an indispensable part of my life.

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