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Minneapolis, Minnesota

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Greg is a dear friend of mine, a big brother of sorts. I haven't seen Greg in years, only the occasional email or phone call has tethered us together. But my friendship with Greg is a good one and upon arrival in Minneapolis it picked right up where it left off. I've know Greg for about 8 years now, met him at work one day. He was in town for training (at the time Greg was a computer field support engineer) and tracked me down because I was the guy who created field tools (software) to help folks like him perform their jobs more efficiently.

From that time forward, he was one of my primary sources for field tool design requirements. I always looked forward to working with Greg, his common sense, no BS approach to things was much appreciated. Additionally, his sense of humor and wise-guy manner (here he is brushing me off) was very infectious, he was such a joy to work with. Very bright and conscientious, his upbeat demeanor and desire "do the right thing" really proved to be a great asset, not only to my work but also to the company at large. Sequent Computers was very lucky to have him. I was lucky too.

Greg is a powerful, hulk of a man and as I got to know Greg better I began to understand God's blueprint when He created him. Greg needs such a large frame to house his huge, giving heart. I would have to say Greg is one of the most, if not the most, caring friends I have. Greg and his wonderful wife Meri have a long history of providing foster care for children in need, 61 children in total. Some of the children they have cared over the years were very, very sick.

Case in point. I had the fortune to meet one of their ex-foster children (Danny) when his adoptive family paid Greg and Meri a visit while I was in town. They try to stay see Danny every 3 months. Long story short, Danny was 1.5 lbs at birth and from the outset his struggle to stay alive was a big one. Greg and Meri took him under their wing and nurtured Danny for two long, difficult years. From the outset the doctors said Danny would never walk but Greg and Meri thought differently and worked hard to help Danny overcome his obstacles. Today Danny is 7 and you know what? Danny and I were jumping on a trampoline in Greg's back yard. So much for what the doctor's predicted.

During my visit I met Greg and Meri's son Branden who just graduated from High School and has plans to go to college to study web design. Branden and Greg have a great relationship, it was fun watching them banter during my stay. During my visit Greg's grand-daughter Megan was staying with the family while his daughter works out some issues. Megan proved to be just the cutest little girl, so full of energy. She's lucky to have such a great grandma and grandpa.

There are also furry and feathered family members. Darby is a small dog, a mutt, looked like a miniature black lab. Very gentle and sweet dog. Samantha is a blue and gold macaw. She was rescued from a bad home and Greg was fortunate to be at the right place at the right time and picked her up. She is a young 9 years old and could live to be 100 years, something I didn't know. She was even friendly enough to let me handle her.

According to Greg, his only vice is food. He loves to cook on the grill and as fortune would have it, on my last evening he did up some BBQ. He also has a passion for diet ice tea as attested to by the can placed within convenient reach.

When I left Greg and his wonderful family I felt great for having has such a fun-filled visit but also sad because I had to say goodbye. I really enjoyed my time catching up and hanging out with Greg. I look forward to seeing him and his family again someday. Hopefully it won't be years before I see them again.

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