During the Christmas break I ended up witnessing to my family and they became "born again".
I went back to school for my second semester. Ed drove me up to school and stayed over night. When he tried to start his car in the morning, nothing moved. It was cold...fifty below. I called Ray and he pulled some strings and got to the head of the line that morning with the guy from AAA.
The guy from AAA pulled the dipstick to the oil and it was like pudding. He took a couple of things off of the engine, sprayed and aerosol can all over the place, and the car started. He put the engine back together and told Ed not to turn the car off until he was back home...and Ed didn't. Ed never came back up to Potsdam, NY during the winter.
Joe's dad had made a loft for Joe. During the break, he made me one. When Joe and I assembled it, I had roughly 12 inches of clearance. The first two mornings I woke with a rush like I always did...and nearly gave my self a concussion on the cement ceiling. The third morning (and ever since), I woke up and looked around before I moved a muscle.
My second semester was relatively uneventful compared to the first semester. I took another chemistry class from Ray. We were spending more time together and I told him I wanted this to be the last class I took from him...I didn't like the added pressure I put on myself to be perfect.
Joe and I kept to ourselves until one night when the main group of guys "pennied" us in. They shoved enough pennies between our door and the door frame, that it put enough pressure on the door that the knob couldn't be turned. Joe and I were actually asleep when the group did it. They woke us up.
Joe and I got next to the door and listened to them listen for us to get mad. I told I didn't want to ask them for help...so I jumped out the window. We were on the second floor and there was snow outside. I ran back upstairs and into their room. I started yelling and they got the pennies out of the door. They ended up respecting us...by the end of the year, Joe and I made plans to share rooms with them next year.
They invited me to go downtown with them even though I didn't drink. There were two reasons. First, they wanted me to drive them...Ray loaned me his Jeep Wagoneer on weekends. Second, I could get the pool table for them.
A game of eight ball cost 50 cents and you had to play doubles. Winner kept the table. Challenger paid. I could keep the table for hours. I would always tell my partner to just make one ball every turn. I wanted to keep making progress, take the pressure off of them, and have them get the easy balls out of the way. My job was to run the table.
My dad had bought a bar sized table when we moved to New York. I personally believe it is harder to play on a bar sized table than a full length table...there's less room to move around. If I play someone good, the second person wins 95% of the time. The first player would get 6 balls off the table before they were hindered by the other player. The second player had a clear table and would run it. I completely enjoyed running a table from the break...maybe too much. Before "Color of Money" came out, I would pretty much do the Tom Cruise routine if I knew I was running the table.
I got ahead in all my classes by one week. I had 3 A's and 3 B's by mid-terms. I finished the year with 6 A's again. My plan to transfer to Cornell was still on schedule.
I spent the summer in Columbus working at The Country Club in Muirfield Village. My brother worked there and got me the job. It is the sister club to the one where The Memorial Tournament is held...Jack Nicklaus' tournament. I was a waiter/busboy. The best part was we got to play on Mondays when the course was closed to the members.
Things were tense at home that summer. First, my dad was not enjoying his job. Second, my dad and my brother loved to debate the Bible...all night...past 3 AM. It was not how I remember my dad debating Herman at the Colorado River. I participated in a couple before I realized it was pointless...there didn't seem to be any guidelines. There was no way to determine truth.
I was missing all of my friends from Rochester. By the end of summer, I organized a weekend at my grandparent's lake house on Lake Berlin near Akron, Ohio. My mom's side of the family had sailboats, jet skis, etc. It was quite a group that came: Ed, his girlfriend, Tim, Patricia, Jeff, and Brian.
There were two memories from that weekend that will always stick out...
Brian and I took the catamaran out just before a storm blew in. When the winds were gusting, we had the catamaran almost vertical, while we stood on the edge and zipped through the water. It was an amazing feeling...we were hanging out as we cruised ten feet above the water...then we'd turn the boat around and do it again.
The storm blew in and we got caught on the other side of the lake. The storm got real strong and the mast blew over. We ended up walking to a pay phone and calling the house so they could come tow us back in the hard rain. I remember Brian turning to me and saying, "I hope you aren't mad about this because I'm really enjoying this."...I was enjoying it...but that was Brian: able to vocalize his thoughts during the most stressful times.
The second memory occurred quite by accident and became my favorite role of all time...
My brother had spent a lot of time at the lake house that summer. He would take the pontoon boat out with some kids and tell them stories. He made up some stories about how the woods around the lake had Native Americans living in them.
One of the parents came over and asked if we would put on a show. Their eight year old son was one of the people who would always go on the pontoon rides...and today was his birthday. They wondered if we would act out a cowboy and Indian scene. Tim agreed to play the cowboy. I played the Indian...
They had built a tepee and a small fire on a little ledge over looking a small bank. I wore the full costume, headdress and all. I sat by the fire minding my own business when the pontoon boat came up. I stood up and fired an arrow over the boat. Then I jumped down on the bank to fire another arrow, when Tim came out on the ledge. I jumped up to the ledge, picked up a hatchet and ran at Tim. He fired a blank from a gun at me. I flew backwards, hit my chest with a ketchup packet and laid down on the bank...only the pontoon boat didn't leave.
After Tim left the scene, the dad said, "Let's go see if he's okay." There were about 7 or 8 kids screaming that they wanted to leave. When I heard the dad and his son come up the ledge, I hid the ketchup packet. The dad grabbed the headdress and said, "I think he moved". The kid ran to the boat. I stood up with the gun and fired a shot before I collapsed.
The pontoon boat got back. The birthday boy ran into the house and locked everyone out. The donor of the headdress let the boy keep it. They told him they called the hospital and the Indian was going to be okay.
It was six years before they told the boy that it had been an act. I just happen to be there with my fiancee when he found out...but that is another story.