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CHUCK

Cheektowaga, New York

Monday, September 6, 2004

What can I say, Chuck is a great guy! Since 1988 I've know him to be not only funny and engaging, but energetic and at times so talkative it's sometimes hard to get a word in, even if pressed flat and turned edgewise. But, it's all good, I get energy from Chuck, he's always perculating with interesting news and impressions about life's activities and events. Always rolling with the punches, I get a little Rodney Dangerfield sense to his personality, jovial, sometimes self-depricating, but always laughing and making those around him feel warm and welcome.

Chuck and I are both computer people, I met him at the first company I worked for after graduating college. Chuck jumped ship a few years later and I quickly followed him to the same company. Between both jobs we never actually worked on the same projects, but the IT departments were small enough where we could easily shoot-the-shit on our breaks.

Days long past, one of my fondest memories with Chuck is participating in, of all things, parachuting. There were 4 of us, Chuck, Mark, Phil and myself, all newbies to the sport of jumping from a perfectly good airplane. It was my idea of course, and I was able to recruit 3 brave souls to come along for the speedy 10,500 foot downward fall through a column of air. If memory serves me, Chuck and Phil jumped after Mark and I (there was only one jump plane that could serve 2 jumpers at a crack). Seeing that Mark and I survived the descent, I'm sure Chuck and Phil were partially relieved when their turn to board the airplane arrived, seeing first-hand that my idea wasn't completely foolhardy.

Landscaping... Say that word when Chuck is standing within ear-shot and you'll immediately notice both ears perk up in full, hearing attention. When I first saw Chuck on my trip, I could have sworn his two thumbs had a greenish tint to them. In the past I had learned that Chuck and his wife Tina shared a passion for flower gardening and ornamental ponds, but had never actually seen their creations. Well, to my amazement, I finally saw their creation. He gave me the full-blown backyard tour, further confirming that the green of his thumbs were not a thing of my imagination.

Here's Chuck all decked out in his summer gardening apparial. I'm not sure what the t-shirt is all about, "Toilet Bowl Champs 2001". Must be leveraging his pond plumbing skills in a toilet cleaning contest? Hard to say. Ha! To his horror, he sees his pic on the website, having forgotten he wore the t-shirt on the photo shoot...

Here are some shots of his garden and pond. The black mesh net over the pond is to keep the racoons and herons from snatching his colorful koi.

Chuck is also into birds and bats. The last picture is what a bat house looks like.

I must say, I really enjoyed my visit with Chuck, it was fun catching up on things. Considering the last time I had seen him was just before I moved out to Portland more than 8 years prior, it got me to thinking. It's somewhat hard seeing long distance friends, re-establishing and re-tightening the long languished and loosened ties, only to turn around and leave once again, not knowing if I'll ever see them again. The alternative is of course worse, to let a good friendship just fade to black due to complete lack of attention. Luckily, with today's technology, a friend is just an email or a phone call away. Unfortunately, technology isn't a silver bullet, the technology won't spark you into action, only a desire within your heart will prompt you along.


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