And in this corner: Letter to a friend

Dear Kevin,

Been missing you lately, so I thought I would write you a letter. Though you aren’t that far away I figured I’d catch you up on a few things.

Marley is now 4 and in preschool. She’s loving it and so are we. I am plenty busy with work as always. Maybe a little too overcommitted these days, but I’m just wired that way. Since I last saw you, we’ve been to New York City twice, Chicago, St. Joe and had some restful weekends in Oceanside. The days speed by quickly but I still believe that time is passing in full. We try to maximize our days and “carpe diem.” You would just shake your head in disbelief at how much time we spent at the OC Fair over the summer. Alissa is now busy with work and loves it. All is well with the Cohn family.

My dad is going strong as ever. He’s reading, traveling, and has a busy calendar with his lady friend.

I worry about Peter and his intense job. He gets into so many dangerous situations, and I ask him to check in when he’s safe.

I want Erik to move back to Long Beach, and I think he wants that, too. Easier said than done, though.

I’d like to see Brian more often and catch up on all our favorite music.

Todd has his hands full driving back and forth to San Clemente for work, family time and still making it up to Los Angeles to watch the Dodgers play.

Sean is busy as ever with his architecture firm.

Everyone got into their routines, but group texts are a God-send for keeping in touch. But as you know, good luck getting a straight answer from the guys. Those texts still easily devolve into insults, side conversations, inside jokes and the re-asking of the original question.

There have been a lot of things lately that have triggered memories of you. Lots of music of course, especially all those cheesy pop songs and the old-school hip hop songs you liked. Remember how you would always practice being a human beat box? I recently had the chance to see a concert where the DJ played every one of those old school songs you liked. They sounded so much better being played loud in the club. I even got to see Color Me Badd perform that night, and now I play their songs for Marley. You would have loved it.

All of that reminded me of the break-dancing classes you took and the piece of cardboard you had on your lawn so you could practice. I think of that first blue truck you got in high school and how proud you were to be driving around in it. We were all just happy that the hockey net fit in the back of it. Remember the night we all thought we were cool and wore our hockey jerseys to the Queen Mary Observation Bar? Not sure what were thinking. Regardless of the fashion faux paus, you ended up having an amazing night in that Kings jersey of yours.

Just the other day some of the guys from the old band shared some photos and it took me on a flashback to all those nights we spent at gigs in Hollywood—the load-ins, the sound checks, loading-out, and then hanging around with all the other bands and friends. The smell of patchouli oil or a sage-smudge stick kick starts the sense memory to those days.

Since I saw you last, I have had time to dissect our friendship and you a unique individual. I can be out anywhere and still laugh at the silly fun of our younger days and our adventures. The days seemed long and we packed in the fun. I am still confused by some of your behavior, how you could be mean or cold at times. It baffled me at how you could disappear for a year or more and then reappear like nothing had changed or was different. We used kid gloves around you sometimes for fear of another disappearing act. I still get angry sometimes when I think about how you didn’t always give the same effort back to the friendships as you had received– but then later you would say how you loved us all. I think I would have liked a little more give and less take sometimes. But I suppose we all have many sides to us. I learned that at a certain age you just accept your friends as they are and there’s no need to judge, especially if you care enough about them. At this point it’s too late for any reconciliations, apologies or changes.

As you probably know, we celebrated your 47th birthday in Joshua Tree. All the guys made it and we finally got to stay at the Harmony Motel. It was fun imagining U2 taking over the place. We hiked and then made the long trek to the top of the mountain. None of us are 22 anymore and could feel our age on the way up and on the way back down. It took us a bit longer this time. But we had a picture-perfect day and played the Joshua Tree album as we climbed. And we played “40” for you once we got to the top.

Erik dug the hole, Sean covered it back up. We took turns sprinkling in the ashes and marked the spot with stones. Each guy seemed to have a silent meditation at the moment with the occasional muffled sniffles. It was hard to believe it. How do you like the view, by the way? You can see the whole valley and the Harmony Motel from there.

A few weeks later I actually broke down when we played the Joshua Tree album at our Knights of the Round (Turn)Table meeting. It was “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” that got to me since we had just heard it up the mountain as well as it being the last song at your memorial.

I do know you have come to visit me a few times. Some moments have just enough prank and humor to them that you must be in the room. I think you were still mad about leaving us so soon that one time when I was out in the garage looking at old things you knocked some stuff off the shelves. I know it was you. And it’s been more than a coincidence that certain songs just happen to come on in restaurants or other places when the whole gang is together. I can still feel you on Sunday afternoons when we’d call it Sunday Sadness. We would have to stop playing hockey or leave wherever we were hanging out to get ready to start another week of work. It’s those times when I remind myself that you aren’t ever that far away.

Well, signing off for now. Don’t worry, I will write again soon. There’s plenty to talk about. And as the Earth spins round and round, I want to make sure you don’t miss anything. Send us some signs every so often, and please get our favorite songs to play. You are watching over all of us, right?