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Chi-Town, Kids, Hockey, Old Friends & Hooters

First off, I talked to my mom yesterday and they had moved dad out of ICU to a room of his own. They’ve had him up walking and he’s feeling much better. Hopefully he’ll begin soon trying to get some food through his system. I bet he’s lost a lot of weight. I don’t even think he FEELS hungry. Mom said he’s been watching Baseball on TV and watched the NASCAR race too. So I’m sure he’s doing better. His throat is still really sore… I guess from the tube going down there during the surgery. I haven’t spoken to him yet since the day he woke up in ICU, but I’m sure I will soon. Hopefully I can jump on a flight this weekend to go see him, though it IS Easter so I’m not sure that will work out.

This past weekend I flew up to Chicago for my friend Alex’s 50th birthday party. His wife Carolyn is about ten years younger than Alex. She’s a sweetheart. I met her when I was flying to Bali in Indonesia in 1991 for a skydiving meet. I’ll never forget it. I was 32 and Alex was 34. He introduces me to his latest girlfriend Carolyn who is but 23 years old. We only had a short time so we went downtown and had some lunch and some beers. I barely got back to Midway airport to get my connection to Los Angeles. They got married in 1995.

Anyway, the last time I saw Carolyn was in 1999. I had gone to Chicago from where I lived in Alabama to go see an Eagles/Bears game with Alex at Soldier Field. Here is Alex’s buddy, Alex & Me at the game.

Alex's buddy, Alex & Me @ Eagles/Bears - October 1999

I met their two youngest children at that time. They were only about 3 and 1 or something like that. Trevor is the oldest and Abby is the youngest. Here is a picture of Carolyn with Trevor & Abby back in 1999. Again this is the last time I’ve seen them.

Carolyn, Abby & Trevor - October 1999

In the summer of 2000 after I got married, my parents had a party for us up at their home in Delaware. Alex and Trevor came out but Carolyn couldn’t come because she was prego with their third child Nolan. There were some issues and the doctor told her she couldn’t come out. SO…

I have not been in touch much with Alex for quite awhile. It seemed like after I got married I just got involved with other things and time passed. A month or so ago I got a call from Carolyn asking me if I’d come up for Alex’s party. So… that’s how I ended up there this weekend.

I got there late Friday and Alex didn’t know I was coming. I just drove to their home from O’Hare and banged on the door at 10:30 at night. Carolyn played it up like ‘who is at the door at 10:30?’ I’m glad she didn’t tell Alex to get his gun. He was quite surprised to see me standing there. The kids were in bed of course but we talked for awhile. Around 1:30AM Carolyn reminded us that the kids needed to be at the rink by 7:30 for the first game of their tournament. I don’t remember if I mentioned that all three kids play ice hockey. Alex and I used to play when we were teenagers on Saturday nights. That’s a whole other story though.

So we get up early and head to the rink. This is the first time I see the kids. Trevor is very shy and doesn’t say much… Abby comes right to me and smiles and starts talking… and so does Nolan even though he’s never met me. Of course the other two don’t remember me either so it’s like meeting them all for the first time.

We went and the kids played their first games. The next round of games was at noon so we went out to breakfast with some of their friends – lots of family interaction in youth hockey leagues – just like other sports for kids I’d imagine.

Nolan wanted to sit next to me. While we had breakfast he drew an alien on a napkin with some space ships and wrote “To Bill From Your Best Friend Nolan” on it. How cool is that? I told him that my “ex” stepdaughter Faith Behnke used to make me home made cards and pictures all the time when she was a little girl. I kept every one and used to hang them on the wall of my office wherever I was working. He asked if I’d put his drawing up there and I told him ‘of course… first thing Monday morning….’ and I did it today. I don’t have a picture of it though.

Here are some pictures of the kids at the rink playing around – I didn’t take any while they were on the ice because they don’t come out well with the glass and netting in front of you.

This is Nolan getting suited up.Nolan getting suited up

Abby on the air hockey table
Abby on the air hockey table

Nolan playing air hockey
Nolan Playing Air Hockey

Nolan & I hanging out before his next game.
Nolan & Bill hanging out before his next game

Another friend of Alex’s – a Marine like us – showed up around four PM. Ed was from New Jersey where Alex & I grew up. I guess Alex started thinking something was up by then.

We watched the afternoon games – Nolan played goalie in the afternoon game – he and Abby are on the same team – and Trevor plays goal all the time in his group. Both teams won their games and Trevor scored a shutout in his stopping a penalty shot and a couple breakaways to keep his shutout. Way to go Trev! Both of their teams made it to the Championship round on Sunday but I had to leave before them so I still don’t know how they made out.

After the games we took Alex to Hooters for some wings and beers. We were supposed to bring him back to the house at 7 or so. He knew something was going on, but he’s a good sport and played right along. At Hooters I had my picture taken with our Hooter girl “Jackie” and told her it was Alex’s birthday. They got all the Hooter girls together and sat him down and sang Happy Birthday to him and then posed for a group shot. It was great. :)

Alex & Ed @ Hooters

Me and our Hooters Girl “Jackie”
Me & Our Hooters Girl Jackie

Alex & Ed & Jackie
Alex & Ed & Jackie

The Hooters Girls singing for Alex
The Hooters Girls singing for Alex

Hooter Girl Group Photo with Alex
Hooter Girl Group Photo with Alex

Then we went back to the house and there were about 60 people there for the party. It was a lot of fun. Carolyn had Alex take some jackets to the bedroom and inside the bedroom was Alex’s old buddy Trevor and Trevor’s wife Jackie. Alex & Trevor have known each other since they were three years old growing up in England. He was quite suprised that they flew all the way from England for his birthday party. Here are some more pictures of the rest of the night:

Here is Trevor & Jackie
Trevor & Jackie

Abby
Abby

Carolyn and her friend Nicole. They are both training to run a marathon in two months. Go Girls!
Carolyn & Nicole

Hey…I FOUND a picture I took with Trevor in it! This is Trevor with his Grandma.
Trevor & Grandma

Abby & Jackie
Abby & Jackie

Me & Nolan once again. It’s times like this that I really miss my ex-stepkids… Faith & Jacob.
Bill & Nolan

This is Abby with Aubrey (I think I spelled that right). Aubrey is Nicoles daughter. She plays ice hockey too.
Abby & Aubrey

In the end, after a day of two hockey games and a big party… everyone was tuckered out. Ed left around 1:30AM and had to get up at 4AM to drive back to Chicago to catch a 6AM flight out. I went to sleep by 2 or 2:30 and got up at 7 to drive back to Chicago to catch an 11AM flight back to Memphis.

I didn’t realize how easy it is to get up there for me. I’ll have to go back again soon to see the kids. I forgot how much I missed being around children. :)

One Comment

  1. Diana Bolen says:

    Love the pics, what a beautiful family and how
    nice that you could be there to celebrate with your friend and his family.

    You can tell you guys / kids and family had fun
    :)

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