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2001-05-27 - 2:33 a.m.

The good far outweighs the bad

Today was one of those days so good that the good significantly overshadowed the bad one of those days where, if I didn't have something to smile about, I'd dwell on the little things that make me frown.

I drove up to Rutgers to watch Notre Dame play in the men's lacrosse semifinals you know, the Final Four (which makes it sound even more impressive). The Irish became the first team west of the Appalachian Mountains to reach the national semifinals. I mean, think about it: it's like colonial times, where nobody went west of The Mountains. Or something.

So anyway, yes, lacrosse is an eastern sport. It's a cult sport, with a unique brand of followers. And it's a great sport. I mean, c'mon any sport where they not only have sticks but can use them to hit the opponent can't be all that bad.

So I made the drive, and waited in traffic to park, and walked a mile from the lot to the stadium in a light rain, and then sat on wet bleachers and stood in a steady downpour, only to watch the Irish lose 12-5. The five goals equaled the worst semifinal output in history. But Syracuse is the defending national champions, a strong, able squad with a stifling defense that shut down our attack. The interesting storyline, though, came from the twin brothers playing against one another for the first time Notre Dame's leading scorer vs. one of Syracuse's best defensemen.

OK, enough of that: I stood in the rain and watched the Irish lose and then had to drive home and try to relax a little before work. I'd been on the phone until 4 a.m. Saturday morning and only gotten five hours' sleep though both the lengthy phone call and the early wakeup were both well worth it. I came home and fell asleep on the couch while the Mets lost to the Marlins on TV before dragging myself up and into the car to get to work.

But before that, after waking up and going into the kitchen for a snack still disappointed with the lacrosse loss, I went to get the mail and found a nice little package from a friend in Chicago that contained an autographed CD case of the Cowboy Junkies' new release, Open. It sure beats the dollar bill I had Margo Timmins sign after a show in nearby Red Bank in 1994. (Comparing the two now, I see that Margo's shortened her first name to basically the number 17 forming an M as if writing 17 by connecting the top of the 1 with the beginning of the 7 followed by a 7 and o for her first name, and forming the last name with a 7, two straight lines with dots above them, and a J with a slight hook at the top to indicate an S. In 1994, she put a little more effort into "Margo," but not much.)

But the cool thing with Margo is that after most of the shows, she waits to meet the fans. She announces it on stage, actually, telling the crowd that she'll wait out back by the bus or in the lobby or somewhere so that the fans can come and say hello. And she arrives pen in hand, ready to sign for all the concertgoers who've brought their ticket stubs or album covers. She's even invited a few hardy fans who show up particularly early into the sound checks at various venues around the continent.

OK, so yeah, a new friend thought to send me the band's autographs and I went off to work listening to Open with the windows down and the sunroof open, since the rain had moved offshore and left me with a cool, overcast ride into the office.

And then work sucked, with all the high school track sectional championships going on and the Devils getting killed in Denver and the Mets losing and the Yankees winning and etc. that's where if I didn't have something to make me smile I would've dwelled on little things like the Irish, Mets and Devils losing and been depressed.

But then, after work, I got another boost.

Jaime and her fiance Dave are up from Philly visiting her dad (while Mom's away on a short vacation to Maine) and the two of them along with Elise, Jeremy, Lisa and the other Dave rested up this afternoon to be ready and able to meet me after work. I high-tailed it out of the office and made my way to Val's, arriving just after midnight, with two hours' worth of camaraderie in our local "where everybody knows your name" tavern.

Just after I felt a bit philanthropic and told Jen the bartender to put Dave's drinks (his and Jaime's) on my tab, Dave looks at Jaime and asks her if she'd asked me yet.

She says no, she thought he should.

So Dave looks at me, puts out his hand to shake mine, and says, "Dan, I'd like you to be in our wedding."

And it just made my day. I wouldn't know Dave if not for Jaime, one of my best friends, someone I've known since the beginning of high school. Dave and I took a long weekend last October to visit my friend Walker in the Berkshire hills of Massachusetts. It was then we really bonded, became friends ourselves, independent of Jaime, though knowing that if it weren't for her decision to call him back after that first date, we wouldn't know each other. And though I had an idea, an inkling that I might have a chance to be a part of the wedding, knowing Jaime so well and becoming friends with Dave, it still caught me off guard. And I felt a little like a brother to Dave, who has one sister, and honored to be asked into the celebration.

Then they went on to tell me how they expect me to be the New Jersey Connection, the on-site coordinator for things like the bachelor party and such. Since most of the wedding party friends of Jaime and me who've moved on and friends of Dave's who do not know the area will be coming from out of state in October 2002, I'm the one they'll look to to help out with the guests, the organization and whatnot. And I'm happy to do it. I don't even know where i'll be then, October 2002 (hell, I don't even know where I'll be October 2001), but I'll be back in New Jersey for that first week to fulfill my duties as Member of the Wedding Party for my best friend, my second sister.

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