The best man

It was a warm spring afternoon during the spring of my sophomore year as I wandered in to Hebeler Hall on the southwest corner of Central Washington University.  My mission?  To apply for acceptance into the Electronics Engineering Technology (EET) major.  My motivation?  Not exactly academic: I was about to enter my third season of wrestling and needed to have a major declared in order to maintain my NCAA eligibility.  When my dad had mentioned electronics, it seemed just challenging enough to keep me from sleeping through the rest of school.

By the time I was handed my diploma three years later, I was seriously second-guessing the decision I’d made.  A program that, with 138 credits for the major alone, looked pretty formidable on paper, ended up being littered with classes taught by professors that were more interested in their paychecks than your education.  Granted, I had a pretty kick-ass résumé, boasting an engineering degree with minors in both mathematics and computer science, but I was in no way confident with the education I had received.  That, and I could not avoid the sneaking suspicion I had that maybe I should have majored in something else (can we say English?  Journalism, perhaps?)  But given the chance to go back and possibly get a degree that more suits me, there’s no way I could do it for one specific reason: I wouldn’t want to risk not crossing paths with a guy named Jeff Weber.

My best buddy Mark and I met the man we call Web-Dog one day in the electronics lab.  With his off-the-wall sense of humor and laid-back attitude, we totally hit it off, and were best friends from then on.  We ended up taking almost every class in the major together, working on projects and labs side-by-side, and "cooperating" on the countless take-home exams we were given. The three of us were a perfect team; Mark was our project manager that always excelled in front of the crowd, I was the number cruncher who was good with the exams, and Jeff was the responsible one, the glue that held us all together, because Mark and I always tended to be a little on the slacker side.  Looking back, I don’t know how we would have graduated without each other’s help.

Jeff is one of those guys I think every man hopes they have the capacity to become one day.  With a firm handle on what matters most in life, namely family and friendships, he has this uncanny ability to let that which does not concern him truly slide. He is the greatest friend you could possibly wish for, because you know he’s always looking out for you, and only wants the best for everyone in his life.  Plus, you can always count on him to call you out when you start to lose focus on what’s really important.  He is the most driven man I know, constantly looking for ways to better himself as a person, as a man, and as a friend, and anyone that knows him, knows great things lie ahead of him. 

Last Saturday, Jeff married his longtime girlfriend, Kristal, in a small ceremony in town.  At a glance, the new Mrs. Weber’s timeless beauty and electric smile conjure images of the silver screen stars from the past, but a two-minute conversation with her quickly reveals the true beauty she harbors inside.  With a genuinely kind heart and a compassionate soul, she is probably one of the sweetest girls you will ever have the chance to meet, and I could not imagine a more perfect woman for one of my very best friends.

But as amazing as these people are individually, the relationship they have together is what shines brightest of all.  For the past five years or so, I’ve been fortunate enough to witness, firsthand, a special kind of love, respect and unwavering support that two people share which most people spend their entire lives dreaming about, and only the lucky few actually get to experience.  What makes their connection even more amazing, is that as the weeks/months/years have passed by, and life has hit its peaks and valleys, they’ve managed to hang on to the one thing that’s most important to them: each other. 

As long as I’ve known him, I’ve looked up to Jeff like he was my older, much wiser brother.  So it really came as no surprise when, while Mark and I watched him exchange vows with his bride (who could not have looked more beautiful on her big day) that this thought crossed my mind: no offense to the great guys that were standing next to him, but the groom in this wedding was by far best man in the room.

Comments

  1. How neat! Hang tight to them! They will have a lot to show you. Sometimes a relationship and love like that comes so naturally. They don\’t work at it, it just happens and falls into place. Soul Mates.
     
    Have a good day!
     
    ~Lyns

  2. K-DOGG!
     
    Just showing up to remind you that you miss me!  :o)~

  3. Hey there Kenny!  Just stopping by to show some love.  Awesome tribute to your friend – 😀
     
    Nebraska Kelly

  4. What I got most out of this blog, wasn\’t that you have a great friend, or that you are a great friend, that you write amazingly well, that you always bring tears to my eyes, that your wisdom always shines through – noop what I got was the meaning of love.  The way you summed up is exact….. the kind that only a few achieve but eveyone dreams of having …. I think we are all looking for a relationship just like that, the type of love that not only can you describe it but you feel it whenever they are around, the energy around them, is magic.  Very few do have that, I use to joke ifI cry at a wedding, the couple is truly in love, if I look around and check out the church, they settled and let me tell you I have seen a too few many churches!!  If we could all hold out for that love, we\’d all feel so alive!  After all the ultimate gift is love – whether it is through our best man/woman or the opposite sex.  Unfortunately we all settle to soon, and get scared to be alone.  Kenny my hope is that you keep filling our ears and eyes with blogs like this, to help us \’get it\’! 

  5. hi kenny,
     
    what u strive for is your business,
    choosing to tell others in the hope of futher enlighting them
    as to the power of there life, is admirable.
    but i find seems to serve no cause anymore
    the only people changed are the ones who were looking to be to being with.
     
    i like your space, people with this kinda honesty make me go a big soft one.
     
    "May the wind always be at your back andthe sun always upon your face, and the  winds of destiny carry you aloft todance with the stars."

  6. True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, & waits to be transformed.

  7. just stopping by to say hello and hope you are having a good day.

  8. As all of your entries do, this entry has moved me deeply. You are a shining star my friend, that we could only hope to gaze upon, and share the warmth and hope you bring to each of us who have been fortunate enough to stumble upon your wee space. I just adore your giving and delightful heart.
     
    And you\’re still my imaginary boyfriend! (hee hee).  Keep well, sweet Kenny. **hugs**

  9. I love this entry as I do all of them. I look back and think too of your ability to thank people around you and your recognition of the most important things in life, like friends and family. You teach me to remember to notice those things myself and it has made me smile. thank you. – my best, patti

  10. wow…that was beautiful…i like to think that is what i have with my man…
    :o) smiles easy to give away they are free… :o) very contagious… :o) so pass one to anyone … :o) to people that you love… :o) and even to those you don\’t… :o) in no time the whole world will be smiling :o)

  11. I used to read your blog when I first started my first one. Then I left blogging and somehow I managed to find my way back once again. I\’m so glad to see you are still writing amazing blogs! Your words that seem to inspire those of us to be better and want to be better. Thank you for that!
    Cynthia

  12. Kenny, in this article you said "… but I was in no way confident with the education I had received." If you\’ll permit, I\’d like to comment on that part first.
    It seems to me that one of the principal things that a college education is good for is to teach a person that while he/she may be an individual, it is teamwork which makes the world go round.
    A little further on, you said "Looking back, I don\’t know how we would have graduated without each other\’s help." Well, I don\’t know if that\’s true or not, but what is obviously true is that you did indeed learn one of the most important of all life\’s lessons during your stay at university.
    I had a couple of musketeers like Jeff and Mark in my youth also. Mine\’s names were Charles, or "Chuck" as he preferred to be called, and John Van G. or Big John, because he was 6\’6" in high school.
    Big John was a wild man whose father was the #3 guy at JPL. He and I stole his fathers car once and drove it to Florida. During the school year. John wanted to go to Ft Lauderdale for spring break.
    Chuck was level-headed, intelligent, fearless and confident, I learned much from him. I didn\’t even mind when the girl I had fallen in love with (Chrissy) fell in love with Chuck.
    Well, not too much anyway. (OK.OK. But I did get over it.) (smiling)
    Chrissy started modeling (Sears and JC Penny catalogs) when she was about 10 years old, and while she was take-your-breath-away, drop-dead-gorgeous, she was also one of the most down-to-earth people I have ever known. In short, she and Chuck were made for each other.
    Seeing the two of them in their lives together gave me hope that someday I would find the one that was meant for me.
    I finally did.
    Great post Kenny, and a fitting tribute.
    steve
     
    p.s. By-the-by, I left MSN Spaces a couple of weeks ago (I built my own web page to house my journal and my stories). Having said that, I don\’t want to lose touch with the many fine friends I have made here. So I hope you\’ll come visit me at my new digs. Here\’s the link:
    http://www.simplystephen.info
    Hope to see you there, and until then, Take care.
    s.

  13. Kenny:
     
    You are not alone.  I work for a group called Parlyzed Veterans of America.  We are working with young people in a similar situation to you.  We have resources that we can put to work for you if you want.  Feel free to let me know…  E-mail is markd@pva.org.
     
    Hang in there, life doesn\’t end with paralysis it just gets more complex.
     
    Mark

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