Steven and I met Neil through soccer in the summer of 2001. He was a young buck, single and out there, living large! He was Steven's "best defender." The boys played games on Sundays, and the games were always followed by recap sessions (aka drinking sessions) at Moe's Crosstown Tavern. Many a Sunday found us closing down the place and somehow making it through a productive Monday at work.
(L to R: Chris, Jon, Neil and Sir)
See why he's special? He's listening to some really stupid story of mine and acting like it's really important. I'm sure I'm discussing Dave Matthews.
One of the things I've always appreciated about Neil, and the trait that makes him unique, is that he has developed and maintained a friendship with Sir, with me, and with Sir/Me. I am his friend, independent of Sir, even though we met each other together. I enjoy speaking with him, listening to him, and laughing with him.
I've watched him go from single dude to married man, to homeowner, to daddy of one, to vodka entrepreneur, to daddy of two, and to mini van owner. (ouch?) There's something to be said about watching your friends grow. He's an excellent cook, an avid sports buff, and apparently a fantastic defender.
Neil and his WONDERFUL wife, Jodi, are like family to Sir and I, and like an aunt and uncle to Taylor. They include us in family activities, traditions and celebrations. For a gal who has such little family, this means the world to us. Steven took the photos for their wedding and for the christening of their first daughter, Addison Grace.
Oh yeah. That reminds me. Neil's grandma, Mariette. You can see from this photo that they are the spitting image of each other. After spending time with her, I realize that he was the male version of this spunky special woman. And, the love and respect he felt for her made me that much more enamored of him. We will all miss Grandma, as she was one of the special ones. Mariette, I'm watching out for them.
As I said before, Neil is now a vodka entrepreneur. He and his partners have developed and are marketing and selling a very cool vodka by the name of Chilled Dills. This was created from evenings in their backyard where they combined vodka with pickle juice, dill pickle juice. Let me just say--AWESOME in a Bloody Mary.
We have known Neil for years, and in so many capacities. One of the most special remains the fact that he was the officiant who married us at our very impromptu wedding. The wedding was just like Neil: straight to the point, no bulls***, mixed with a bit of emotion.
(still a look of shock on my very fat face)
So, there you have it folks. The guy Steven and I both pegged as our favorite friend, many many years ago. He rocks.
And, while I was composing this blog, I received a text/photo from him of Jodi and Daughter Number One:
I love seeing those I love so happy.
Bonus pic of Sir and I from back in the day.
Oh, the glory of youth!