Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Darren, Darren, Darren. Our history and journey started in 1st grade at Smith School. This is where we became friends, and not knowing then, but Good friends forever. Kickball games, squirting our squirt guns up the girls’ dresses (until they were confiscated), pizza Fridays, Amy Moulton, and Mrs. Anderson working the food line. We can't forget the Undefeated 5th & 6th grade basketball team, the Smith School Superstars! Then we had the end of year movie in the cafeteria where all our crew were sitting in one row, eating all the candy we wanted, supplied by our friend Robert Glave. Our friend Robert would hook us up with hand-held video games and candy all the time - thanks to the 5-finger discount at Grand Way. We can never forget Spyguy at Grand Way next to Grand Union, the undercover security man who was not very sneaky. We would see the edge of his glasses creeping around the aisle trying to spy on us, and as soon as we would see him, we would take off to another aisle until we finally ran out laughing our asses off. Then in our 5th & 6th grade years we started a little tradition. At the end of the school year, the last day of school (which was one of our favorite times of the year) we would go to Puggies and get a party pack with the money our parents gave us. It was so awesome, and I think it was just the freedom; no parents, no school, ordering food like grownups, and talking about our plans for the summer. In those talks we had our main conversation: “when are we going fishing?” That is when we started becoming fishing buddies at the River. We were river rats for sure with all the time we spent there fishing, catching frogs & snakes, shooting shit up with the Daisy, being free (not supervised), and just roaming and finding things. We will never forget our favorite badass dog, Bad Shad. Your first go at it as a repair man was when your mom’s vacuum broke and you knew you could fix it, and you tried and lost your fingernail because you forgot to unplug it, duh Darren. Then there was getting on Ray’s CB at your house. We just wanted to see if we could find someone to talk to on the CB radio. While doing this, some guy got on our channel and told us to stop playing around and get off the channel; that is where it all started. We were like, “Who are you? What are you going to do?” He replied, “I will find you.” Our reply while laughing was “whatever, bring it.” Within 20 minutes the dude was parked in front of your driveway with his big antenna on his car, and he replied, "I am out front". Well, we pretty much crapped our pants and ran in to turn the CB radio off, then sprinted into your bedroom with bad Shad and sat and prayed on your waterbed. We would go back out into the living room every few minutes, peeking through the curtains to see if he had left. He finally left after about 30 minutes, but it seemed like forever.
In our junior & senior high school years we had nothing but good memories, crazy times, and out-of-control moments. Todd’s house was all our second home, poor Mrs. Zeches! Pool parties, card games, and Mrs. Zeches’ open kitchen. You and I could eat a lot for 2 skinny boys. Sharron would buy groceries on Friday and all the food that was supposed to last a week was long gone by Saturday night. Catching Dumount and Todd cheating at cards (Pitch). Todd always tried to cheat, jackass. We were the Jerky Boys (before the actual Jerky Boys) making prank phone calls at Todd’s house. We would look up people in the white pages and take turns calling while the other 2 were listing in on the other lines in the home. One day while doing our pranking it was my turn. I got the number, dialed it, and yelled to you and Todd to get on the phone because it started to ring. I did not come up with a script before I dialed and tried doing it on the fly. Well, it rang once, and the lady picked up and threw me off a bit, and we started the conversation like we always did by stating their name and having them confirm. When the lady confirmed I replied, “I am Doctor Surgeon…” and all I heard was outburst of laughter from you and Todd from the other lines! That ended that call immediately, and we still laugh about it today. You and Todd used to go to a lot of concerts, and I was never able to go due to my parents, so hearing the stories the next day from you was always a treat and brought many uncontrollable laughs. You and Todd driving home from Binghamton from a concert and Todd driving the wrong way on 81, was just one of many stories. The Sharron shower story, which is still one of the funniest of all times. The story you told when you and Todd went to Ithaca Mall, Todd stole his mom’s car that you guys weren’t supposed to be driving and then locked the keys in the car, just brilliant. You were very proud of your high school girlfriend, always on display on your bedroom wall. Heather Locklear was a hottie and never said much but you did have a good run with her.
Our big first camping trip was up at Otter Creek. Some of our parents came looking for us that night, but never found us. The normal weekend process of calling one another and trying to figure out where we would all be hanging for the night and what we were doing was pretty much a given. Our hangouts were mainly Todd’s, Paul’s, Donny Stevens, or the Rock. Riding downtown on my uncle’s bicycle and I had 9 of us on there, we were a circus act that night, and just laughing the entire time. Going to the High School Wrestling match in our animal hats (pig, bear, elephant) due to a dare. Throwing snowballs at moving targets (cars). Fishing at Little York with our dads. Always having fun with you.
The times we spent in your trailer in the back of your house on Sampson, WOW. Getting Vin (the Vietnamese kid) drunk and then he would make us laugh for hours. Your mom coming out nightly and politely telling us to ‘tone it down’. Working at the hospital with you and all the stories while we where there. The hot nurses that we knew by name but who had no idea who we were. All the food we ate and the patients who we had fun with. We did not always work the same shifts but when we did, it made it way more enjoyable.
Then in 1989 when Jeff, Andrew, Pat, and I rented the apartment building behind Darkhorse on Clayton Ave, what a wild summer. Chuck Keigley, the Dugout, the pit, and just the wild and fun times we had then.
When I finally moved out in 1993 to Cali we did not stay in much contact with each other, but when I came home for a fishing trip in Canada or just to see family and friends, you were always one of the first people I made sure I saw. It was like nothing ever changed and we would pick up just as if I were still living there. Every time I would see you I would say “roll one up, Jr.” (old inside joke). I would also say to Darren "It's all messed up" and Darren would respond "It don't matter". A quote from one of our grade school movies that always stuck with us. First time bringing my wife to Cortland and you and Stacey treated her like family and part of the Cortland crew, and you made her laugh every time she saw you.. One of our trips home in the winter I brought our son Brad and we went out with you to Todd’s camp and shot some guns and my cousin Mickey’s 44 magnum. I would always ask for some Venison and you always came through. I remember whenever you had your guns up at the North 40 I would say, "hey Snyder, give me one of those guns and let me show you how it's done". You would look at me and I could see you wanted to say “no way man”, but you took the chance and let me fire away. Always like when I asked you something that maybe you didn’t want to do, and you would respond NO while nodding your head Yes. Remember going to Canada? I got denied, so we turned around so I could change my clothes and look. We came back through and got in and game on! The one prank I learned from you is when you used to wet your fingers and you pretended you were sneezing and flick that water on people’s necks. Wow, that was a winner and pissed people off immediately.
Our friendship and bond started from day one and all the memories we have shared are priceless and forever. For my 50th birthday Shannon had a surprise party for me and that included you, Todd, & Eugene flying to Cali. It was beyond awesome to have my good friends come out to see me. However, when I saw you that meant more than words could say because I know your patience level and how much you just love flying, especially across the country. It was the best, man, and I don't know if you really knew how much that meant to me; thank you so much Darren. When I heard it was time to come home and see you, I texted you and said "I will see you Friday, buddy". I saw you Saturday and I thank you so much for holding on to see me, as I knew you would, and I was blessed to spend every second I had with you. You will always be a brother to me, I will never forget your kindness, friendship, stubbornness, lack of patience, comedian Darren, prankster Darren, and your good soul. Love You Darren, and until we meet again, you will be missed so much and will be in our hearts and memories forever. Love You Darren.