when i think about you, i think about 17

We all know what the ringing of a new year means to the vast majority of people. I won’t take the time to explain it all because it’s April, meaning “fresh starts” and new long-term goals are so three months ago. Plus, this blog isn’t really about any of that.

Some of us rang it in with complete strangers in overly-crowded bars. Others relaxed with close friends and family and watched the ball drop. Some of us, however, made the trek home to stand around a fire, regardless of the fact it was below zero outside, trying to drink our beer faster than Mother Nature could freeze it.

PAUSE: Before I get into the nitty gritty of this post, I have to take you back about 7 years, or else you won’t understand.

REWIND: It all started when a group of us were invited to “Bonfire.” My friend Jake had no idea that he started something huge when he sent that first Facebook event. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember what year it was. I also couldn’t begin to guess what the occasion was, and the truth is there may not have been one. All you, as a reader, need to know is that it was the starting point of what I now refer to as, “the good old days.”

What followed was really nothing more than another Saturday night fire. Then someone had a birthday so we had a fire. Then we got really bored one summer night so we decided to have a fire.  Kyle and Luke graduated that next Spring so, hey, we had a fire. Honestly, we’ve done our part to help out with global warming. Sorry.

Our parents loved it, because they always knew where we were. We loved it, partially because we could burn things like couches and copper, but mostly because we were spending another night with our best friends. I am not a talented enough writer to truly paint the picture for anyone reading this. Just think of your happy place and the way it makes you feel – that was us at those fires.

PLAY: NYE 2017 we had what was possibly our last fire. Mind you, our friendships with one another go back way before any of this started. These relationships have managed to become stronger, even as the miles between us grow larger. So it’s not like that night was the last time I’d ever see any of those crazy cats again. However, it may have been our last fire at that house and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little sad leaving the next morning.

Like I sometimes do, I spent my 3 hour ride back to Cape Girardeau the next day listening to music that makes me cry. No, not songs that remind me of shitty boys, pointless friendships, and the blogs I wrote circa 2015.  I’m talking about songs like Springsteen, by Eric Church and Here’s to the Good Times by FGL.

In turn, I began to overthink our simple little fire and came up with this blog. We rang in 2018 together doing our favorite thing one last time. While I know my pals aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, I really feel like that fire closed out our good old days.

Now when I listen to songs like 5 More Minutes by Scotty McCreery I get chills. When I feel a cool breeze come through the car window I smile. Every time I hear New Girl come on I think of my best friends. When I smell bonfire smoke I’m comforted.

Without getting too sentimental, I just want my friends to know how proud I am of them. We’ve grown up so much in the last 7+ years and it’s actually starting to scare me. Please don’t ever stop being you guys, whether you’re in Wyoming, the ever-fresh 217, Northwest Missouri or Nashville.*

*Nashville, Illinois.

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