Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Remembering a Friend

Monday, October 23, 2006

Brandon Shinnaberry died last Thursday. It was a shock to say the least. I couldn't even fathum that something so sudden could have ever happened.

I was in disbelief when I was first informed. I'm not sure if even now I believe it.
His funeral was today. It was a rather short service, but it made me very unstable.
Just a brief on how Brandon and I knew each other:
We both attended Lake of the Woods in elementary. The Shins only lived a couple blocks down from us. They lived in what I always considered a small home. It was a double wide trailer, cream colored, with a deck which they had built some odd years ago. Brandon wasn't what I would call gorgeous, he was average, whatever that means... I had always thought his head was slightly too large for his body. He had the Shinnaberry nose, something that if it were my nose, I would probably consider a curse, but they all share this large, poiny nose. His haircut was always the same... a medium brown, curly, shaggy, mushroom cut, with side burns.
I'm not quite sure how we met, I imagine through our parents, they used to be friends but somehow over the years they grew apart. Either way, Brandon and I had known eachother for a long time. He was always around the neighborhood. I was one of four, realitively close in age, James children. We played host in our backyard to many games of baseball, dodgeball, kickball, hide-and-go-seek, ball tag, ect...
All the kids on the southeast side of town came over in the nice summer afternoons. My mom and dad didn't mind much, as long as we were inside by dark, which we rarely ever were. I grew up with an older and younger brother, so most of the other kids were boys, and I always participated in these games... not always by choice, but I was as tom-boy as they come. so it wasn't hard to convince me to play. I was always in baseball caps, torn jeans, and stained t-shirts, that were usually two times too big for me.
Brandon was one of those guys that I spent a lot of time competing with. he wasn't one of the cool, tough guys, he was a small, sweet kid... which made him my enemy. Not because I didn't like him, but because he was the only one small enough for me to compete with.
All of us kids spent every summer at the park, riding bikes, playing on the diamond, or running around after each other. We spent our winters building forts, or at Willie Walleye Hill, sledding until our snot froze.
Those were the good ol' day, but they didn't last. As time passed it changed everything, as it always does.
I grew more and more feminine and all the neighborhood boys seperated into clicks and little gangs. I was still pretty athletic, but those boys were really rough, not that that stopped me, I still strived to join the games and show them how well I could do for a girl. But they weren't really interested anymore. Priorities had changed drastically, instead of the main goal being having fun and staying out past dark, it was now: boys wanted to play video games, be tough and attract girls. I was never the most beautiful girl, and I was one of the guys, so I was never the one being sought after. Boys were supposed to hang out with boys, and girls with girls, so my tom-boy stage slowly faded.
Brandon and I never hung out much after those years, but I would see him around the neighborhood and at school. His brothers always told me that he had a crush on me, but I never believed that, and I didn't think that someone who liked me would get in a fist fight with me on the playground at recess. That was back in second or third grade, and we ended up going to the "peace table" to work things out. He remained to be the competition for me.
We were mostly friendly towards one another, but the exceptional moments. After fifth grade, Brandon transferred to Indus and we stopped hanging out. Over time the competitiveness died and we were even.
Brandon and I worked together for a long time at the local grocery store, me a cashier, and he my bag boy.
We talked a lot at work, usually just to pass time. He always had jokes and drunk stories to tell me, and it usually was a nice break from a long, boring day of work. We had always spoke of hanging out, or partying together... but that never happened.
In more recent months, Brandon and I never saw each other. After he graduated he was going to get away from Baudette, thats what he tole me he had planned, but I'm not sure if that happened accordingly, but eventually he move to his grandparents 3 hours from here, or so I've heard. I hadn't heard anything about him, not even his name until I found out that he was killed in a terrible car crash.
It astonished me to think that things could happen so suddenly, with no warning.
I always considered Brandon a friend, even through the recent years of no communication. He was such a nice guy. He always greeted me with a smile and plenty of exciting stories. He was such a younique guy, and it's hard to think that I will never see him again. The strangest feeling takes over a person when someone they knew is lost forever.
I went to the service today and didn't really know what to think. I didn't cry, but I think I wanted to. The service was closed casket.
I don't know if reality will set in for me now, due to the fact that I hadn't seen him in so long anyway, this won't feel much different. But there will always be that feeling of a lost friend.
But listening to the sermon made me think of all those memories that we shared, all those ball games and chases, all that competitiveness, and all of his personality. He was always the nice guy, always funny, although he had a slight temper, he was a great person. I'll never forget that smile and his laugh. That deep chuckle of his. He really was a tremendous person, and I will surely hold him in my heart.

Goodbye Brandon. Heres to you pal!
Brandon Don Shinnaberry
August 1987-October 2006

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