Anytime I hear the first bars of this BTO song, I look for Chris.
My first wedding, back in 1992, was actually my mother-in-law’s wedding. I did not choose the venue (MIL’s very fancy country club) nor the menu (surf and turf?); I had no idea what my flowers, or even my own bouquet, looked like until I arrived for the ceremony (true story); I even wore said MIL’s heavy satin wedding dress.
I did, however, choose the band, and about halfway into the night I went up to my friend Chris and said, “The band’s going to play Takin’ Care of Business, and you’re leading us in The Gator.” He said something like, Here?!?!?, but the next thing I knew those first bars were playing and Chris was — as usual — leading us to the dance floor. I’m not sure my (now ex) MIL ever got over my rolling around on the floor in her dress.
I first met Chris in 7th grade at St. Mary’s, but I got know him best a few years later when he played ‘Nardo in our high school production of West Side Story. I was responsible for Chris’s make-up. And let me tell you there was A LOT of makeup to transform this sweet pale blonde boy into the tough dark Puerto Rican leader of The Sharks. And thereafter, always good friends.
Chris was that guy who was everyone’s friend; the guy you called when you wanted to be talked into something or out of it; the guy you called when you were driving across the river to get illegal beer (Let’s Party!) or had just gotten caught with the illegal beer (Oh hell, we’re in trouble!); the guy you could ask for any manner of help and they guy you wanted to help; the guy you exchanged long crazy messages (ALL CAPS, lots of exclamation points!!!) with about lucky you all were to have such awesome friends and how sad it was to be apart … (MORE CAPS and exclamation points!!!)
Some of you might recall a post from last summer about going to my 30 year high school reunion. Most of you certainly thought I was some nut job — who on earth looks forward to such things? — but I assure you this: our reunions are always a giant laugh-track, microphone-singing, often-inappropriate, love-fest where everybody dances and nobody wants to go home. And we have our class president, Chris Seyer, to thank for keeping this going for 30 years.
Chris died suddenly last October. Age 48. Two months after our last reunion.
This coming Saturday, our class will gather again, and this time we’ve invited the whole town. We’re going to throw the kind of party Chris would throw, only this time he will not be there. There will be a band. There will be dancing. We will take care of business by raising money to help Chris’s family. We will laugh too loud. And cry. There will some inappropriate-ness. And no one will want to go home. Only this time, we will have to find our way to the dance floor without our leader.
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