B. Gabriel Helou
Truly, One Hell of a Guy
Audrey has the unenviable responsibility of keeping me from making a complete fool of myself. Generally, she does a pretty good job of it. Occasionally, she throws up her hands in frustration and turns me loose.
She occassionally regrets that.
One thing we have no regrets about is getting married; it was an event so nice, we did it twice.
I am fortuate enough to have the two best parents there are. When two adults can put up with me as a child, they must be truly exceptional individuals.
The best sister anyone could ask for. Intelligent, witty, charming, and -- even in sepia -- beautiful.
The best brother anyone could ask for. We grew up side-by-side and enjoyed it. We've worked together and enjoyed it. We've shared an apartment and enjoyed it. He's been my best friend my whole life.
I'm also the product of the people around me. These are some of the people who make me who I am . . .
Don and I met in 5th grade and he still puts up with me. He's surrounded himself with charming and intelligent women (one wife and two daughters), making him the envy of many. On top of that, I think he can fix (or build) anything.
I met Ken when I worked for Ford Motor Company. He's got a sense of humor that's frighteningly close to mine and knack for looking at problems from unexpected angles; it was most unfortunate that our projects rarely overlapped.
I met Jennifer when I bumped into Ken at an ice cream shop and quickly came to the conclusion that she was every bit as fun as Ken. I enjoyed hanging out, traveling, and partying with Ken and Jennifer frequently while they still lived in the area. I enjoy their company as often as fate allows, now that they're living in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains.
There aren't a lot of people who's interests in music, food, and art are as eclectic as ours. Whether it's listening to Celtic rock, dining on black bean burritos, or visiting the Detroit Institute of Arts, we have a good time hanging out with Jean and Marshall.
If that wasn't enough ... they're the parents of my godson, Ian.
When we met him at Central Michigan University, he was selling floppies at prices way below anyone else in the area. Later on, we worked with him at a local computer store. After the three of us left the store (and they folded), he moved to Cadillac, Michigan and continued to sell computers.
When he hasn't been building and selling computers, he's had the time to build his house (mostly by himself), ride trails on one of his motorcycles, and head to several places around the world for some R&R. Everyone should be so lucky.
Gary and I have known each other since high school. He's one of the few high school friends I've managed to keep in touch with over the years. I suspect this is because he's one of the ones with which I most want to keep in touch. I've known Virginia since the time I went to visit Gary when he was at Michigan Technological University. She likes computers, cats, science fiction, a wide variety of music; we get along great.
Gary & Gini have hosted gatherings of the South East Michigan Gluttony Society at the home for over 20 years. Friends, conversation, and stupid amounts of food . . . who could ask for more?
Bosh introduced me to Audrey. What more can I say? On top of that, we shared three residences, fought, hugged, argued, and hacked. We also made corned beef hash and scrambled eggs every Sunday for who-knows-how-long, and share the blame for creating Hot Dog Stew.
Sometimes, it seems I've known Mike and Carol longer than I really have. Mike's a fellow computer jockey who gave up day-to-day programming to become president of Msen, Michigan's best-run Internet service provider. He also shares my fondness for good food and drink. Carol is an accountant, bookkeeper, and financial consultant who proudly takes accountant stereotypes and stands them on their head.
For several years, Stately Wayne Manor was a hang-out for many of our friends on Friday nights, following the tradition set by Bob & Connie Trembley, who hosted the Friday gatherings for over a decade before moving too-far-away.
After sharing the same friends and attending the same events  for two decades, we finally met. It's no surprise we get along so well; it's just a shame it took so long to figure that out.
1. Case in point: Margaret and I took the same class once. There were only about a dozen people in the class, but neither of us recall the other being there. Still, our calendars confirmed we'd spent several hours together in the same classroom.
Two friends from college that we never met while in college.It wasn't until we'd graduatated and were visiting friends still in school that we met Joe and Lisa. They were part of the Grapevine crowd, a group of computer buffs. We quickly came to the conclusion that we liked hanging out together. Living about 150 Km apart, we don't get to do so as often as we'd like.
I can't say enough about Bob and Connie. They're responsible for introducing me to most of the people I spend my free time with and introducing me to science fiction conventions.
The Trembley home enjoys a well-deserved reputation for hospitality; I think I've spent more time in their kitchen than I have in my own. On top of that, they hosted a gathering of friends every Friday night for several years that became a weekly tradition for many of us.