December 1

Only a few miles to get to my extract point is sometimes harder to judge than 20 Miles. I dilly dallied long enough and got on the water. I made it to the boat ramp right before noon as I had planned. My college fraternity brother was there a few minutes after and we loaded my boat in his truck and were off to Tampa. It was like transporting back in time.  Crossing bridges over the water, many I have done hundreds of times, many of them I probably don’t remember. I used to live on the south side of the Tampa Bay and drive the hour over several times a month to hang out with my old college crew that had relocated down here after school. It felt just the same except I wasn’t intoxicated. We got to his house where his wife and kid were waiting. Another one of my college friends. We caught up and got lunch and waited for their other kid to get off the bus. The last time I lived down here I probably would have avoided hanging out simply because I couldn’t do what I wanted around kids. A short time later two more college friends came over. The band was officially back together. The 5 college friends who had lived down here 10 years ago were back together finally. Time hadn’t skipped a beat. We played cards like we used to. Except we were playing Uno this time with little kids but it was just as intense and trash talk was flowing. The kids went to grandmas and we continued to party. We walked down to the “strip” on the island. It was the same island we used to party on every weekend. Sure enough when we walked by the first restaurant I saw someone I knew. Another person from college in Ohio who had moved down here. We stared at each other for a while before we realized what was going on. I remember giving her advice on Tampa in a Bar in Columbus right before she moved down here. She was just as shocked as I was and told me that she had been following along online and now I was here. We continued on to a bar and parked the crew on the patio for drinks and appetizers. The stories were flowing heavier than drinks. Not drinking wasn’t a problem, I was just enjoying the moment. Before we closed out and walked back I walked to the 7-11 to get some drinks for the morning. That was an interesting experience. I used to stumble into that 7-11 at all hours. Even though it’s been years, my muscle memory kicked in and I walked straight to the back to the beer section.  It was an eye opening situation but quickly made a turn and was back on course to what I was looking for. I went back to meet my friends and we started the walk back to their house. We were strung out over a block talking and walking. Getting time to talk to each other one on one. Normally I wouldn’t remember these conversations but I will keep these memories with me forever. We got back and hung out in the back yard drinking and telling stories till 2 AM. I finally went to bed and they stayed up solving the world’s problems. I didn’t need to dream tonight because I was living in one today.