From Lou…

I happen to actually like my job, so coming back to my desk after a vacation isn’t usually a drag. Today, though, it was. And that’s because … I was no longer ON THE VAN.

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I can honestly say that the nearly two weeks I spent with the boys and Neal was the most fun I’d had in a long time (and ask anyone:  I KNOW how to have fun).  By about halfway through my stint, somewhere on a backed-up freeway in Oklahoma, it dawned on me that I didn’t know what day it was, hadn’t checked my email in at least three days, and hadn’t flossed or eaten anything remotely green it at least that long. And it felt pretty good.

I take away a lot from this experience, but the thing I appreciate the most was seeing how into skating the boys were and how, despite the ridiculous heat, the overlong van rides, and our dubious diet, as soon as we landed at a good “spot,” nothing else mattered but the shredding. The boys were usually the youngest and smallest “serious” skaters wherever we went, but they were as serious as anyone we met.

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Moms: you’ve got great kids. I have known Leo and Sean since their births, and it’s great to see they’ve both become neat dudes. It’s beautiful that those two and Niall can go a year (or longer) and not see each other, and just fall right into being great friends again. Don’t think that happens with everybody you meet, guys. You three have something special.

That said, I haven’t met two cooler kids lately than Nathan and Willem. They both rip. I have to give big props to Nathan for being the only kid to have his cell phone on him and charged most of the time, and for using it to call home. As for Willem, Billy Joel said it best: “Don’t go changin’.” And I mean that in the best possible way, gangster.

Finally, there’s Neal. We’ve been friends for more than a couple of decades, so maybe that’s why I let you talk me into this little escapade. I gotta say it was perfect, from start to finish. I hope I was an able co-pilot, or yin to your yang, or sumpin’. I love you man.

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