Some of the best memories I have from college are of hanging out with Eugene, Russ, and the rest of our gang: Uno games until 2:00 in the morning, various other card and role-playing games, going to the Nitty Gritty for Russ's 21st birthday (even though I was still a week shy of legal age myself), a summer road trip down to Chicago, eating fresh donuts from the bakery on Randall in the middle of the night, a Fourth of July picnic in the park where Oz brought his cat Zoey...the list could go on and on. I'm glad that we kept up our friendship since then. When I was in D.C. for my NCI internship, Russ was in New York City. He came down one weekend to visit, so we went to Arlington National Cemetery and a couple of other tourist places together. We've managed to get together with Russ and our other Madisonian friends several times; Sara (Sara with No H) hosts a reunion party every year around Thanksgiving. We also drove up to Minneapolis a couple of years ago to visit Russ.
If you've been following Russ's blog, you know he's a hard-working man and is a talented artist. He's also a kind, patient guy who's fun to be with, as you can tell by all the friends who visit his blog. Russ, both Eugene and I wish you a very happy birthday. We may be getting older, but at least we're getting older together!
And now here are a few words from my better half:
I'm not so sure about the better half. Anyway, it just seems like it was yesterday when we first met. I believe I was in the dorm room when you, Pat, and Oz came back from working out at the SERF. To borrow some song lyrics, "Oh what a long and strange trip it's been."
Anyway, let's take you on trip down memory lane. I'm sure you remember the surprise birthday party that Sandra mentioned above. Well, here are a couple of photos to jog that memory of yours.
Can you name everyone in this picture? I don't remember the name of the young lady in the red shirt, though.
I can't remember what gift you opened up in this picture, but Brian is not impressed.
The birthday celebrants under the table eating their birthday cake.
The next five pictures need some explaining. Freshman year, we threw a surprise birthday party for my roommate Pat. We reached a point in the party where we found clothesline in the closet and Pat just happened to be sitting in a chair. Well, we decided to tie Pat to the chair and decorate him. We even lifted him into the elevator and showed him off to everyone in the dorm until he was declared a fire hazard by one of the housefellows.
Anyway, when Russ realized that the party was for him too, the first thing he looked for was any kind of rope. Naturally, we said there wasn't any around, but he was very wary for a while. After eating cake and all of that jazz, we had them sit down and open their gifts. We slowly congregated around Russ while he was sitting down and looking at one of his gifts. On someone's signal, we pretty much jumped him. Boy, did you give us a fight. We had a person on each leg, Pat sitting down on your lap, and Paul placing a bear hug on you.
My, my, my. If it wasn't for Paul, the next couple of photos would not have been taken...
Aw, smile Russ. It's your birthday.
You make a wonderful... I have no idea.
The Med Scholars revel in their triumph.
This is a picture of the Gang during a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago. This was during the Summer of 1990?
This picture was taken in our friend Ed's apartment that I was subleting one summer. Ed was a sword and knife collector. Russ made a sketch of the Jim Morrison face on the flag in the background. He decided to make a boatload of xerox copies and place them everywhere (bathroom, shower, medicine cabinet, kitchen cabinet, etc.) We took a few liberties with the blade weapons and posed for this picture.
Russ, there were more pictures that we thought about posting, but we'll send you those later. I hope that you enjoyed your trip down memory lane. You are a fun and down-to-Earth guy. In all seriousness, you are a man of great character, work ethic and integrity. I am honored to call you my friend and to have you stand up in our wedding. I hope that you have a wonderful birthday and that there are many more to come.