Archive for October, 2008

The Gorge

October 24, 2008
My dad got my brother and I out golfing at an early age.  We grew up on two courses.  The first was Burden Lake where we took golf lessons.  The second was Frear Park.  The following things have happened on this course:

  • I didn’t make the Varsity golf team one year on this course.  I missed it by one stroke.  
  • My dad used to run a night golf tournament at this place.  It was awesome as a kid to see my dad hanging out and laughing with local celebrities and news personalities.  
  • Also at these tournaments, my dad was given access to a work jeep that was a manual speed, “three in the tree” type cart.  With my sister bouncing along with a huge smile on her face, I learned how to drive a stick shift.  The only problem was that it was about 3 or 4 years before I could legally drive so I’ve lost that touch for a while now.
Frear Park also has one of my most feared holes in all of my golfing experience.  I give you, the gorge

Now this may not look like much in the picture above but as a kid and as someone who was trying to make the golf team, this thing was a monster.  No need to see the bottom.  All there is is grass, despair, and golf balls of years past.  A few weeks ago, my brother, sister, and I headed home to help out around the house while my dad was recovering from surgury.  To get him out of the house for a little while, we ended up on the course.  (Yes mom, he didnt play).  

Anyway, back to the villanous 5th hole.  Right from the beginning of the round, I had told my brother and dad that my goal the whole day was to drive the gorge.  We pull up to the tee box with my brother invoking the movie Tin Cup saying you’re probably not going to leave until you do.  He steps up to show the way and blasts one clear over, inches from the green on this Par 4.  He then says, “Over/Under for you is 3 balls”.  Damn it if he wasn’t right that on that one.  Third ball goes sailing over.  Another check mark off the list:-)  Here’s a few more pics from that day.  Thanks dad for the tips and Chris for kicking my butt yet again at golf.  One of these days…

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Happy Birthday Grandpa!

October 21, 2008

Not the best picture of the two of us (and I have no idea what we’re looking at) but the guy in his famous green hat has a birthday today! To my grandpa who would drive down to Troy to pick us up after school or take us out to breakfast after Church on Sunday’s, I hope you had a great birthday today and here’s to many more!

Here’s a better pic:

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Happy Birthday Stacy

October 20, 2008

A very Happy Birthday to Stacy.  I was a little slow on this post last year but this year, I’ve gotten a little better.  Only 5 days late:-)  Hope you and Chris had a great day!  Enjoy the new apartment and the new hairy bundle of craziness y’all brought into your apartment!

Welcome To The Newest Member Of The Spain Family!

October 20, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Avon Barksdale (apparantly a reference to the HBO show “The Wire”)!  Chris and Stacy recently added this puppy to thier lives.  Looks like he’ll make for some good stories.  That innocent face will only go so far…
Congrats:-) 

Mobile Blogging

October 19, 2008

This could be dangerous. Pics, videos, crazy on the road stories….

Problem is that I'm just sitting in front of my computer procrastinating some cleaning. I have a feeling this will come in handy one day though.

Time to get the unlimited text messaging plan!

Have a great day whereever you might be reading this:-)

-Jeff

Me and My Brother

October 14, 2008

28 years and 13 days ago, Christopher Manion Spain was brought into the world. A blonde haired, blue eyed, bundle of joy. Not knowing what the world was in for, his older brother has been along for this ride of sports, California, and the honing of argumentative skills (yes, that’s a politically correct way to say that we fought like any two young brothers do).

Now I have to remember that as I write this, I’m going to give this guy a “best man’s” speech one day so I’m not going to share everything. I’m going to hold on to some stories, some insight, and some pictures, but he requested that I update this blog so he has something to read in class at law school. And I have no problem accommodating that wish with some stories about the two of us growing up…

  • I think if YouTube or America’s Funniest Home Videos existed back in our early days, our parents could have made us celebrities for some of the stupid fights we used to get into. Some were epic, but most were over the smallest stuff. Really, it would be the names we called each other that would win us the money. For our future careers and wives, I’m not even going to post an example.
  • There is one fight that is still talked about to this day. It is the fight that brings a laughing “Don’t you bring that up!” from my mom (She’s probably doing it right now. It’s ok mom. Put the hand down that you just put to your mouth after you did your “OH!”). It’s a fight that involves drama, a misunderstood hero (me), a cackling anti-hero (Chris), and a shower. It’s the infamous, the legendary, “Seabrook Fight”. A little backstory that you may need to understand the epicness of this fight:
  1. As a kid (ok, maybe still as an adult), I took long showers. It was the only place to get some peace and quiet in our house.
  2. Each summer as a family we would travel to Seabrook, New Hampshire for a vacation. We would rent a house close to the beach.
  3. I think one of the goals of each fight was to scream whatever we were saying at a level that attempted to exceed the others pitiful attempt. Chris never usually threw the temper tantrum along with it. I’ll admit that it usually came out of me but…

The day at the beach had finished like any other and we headed back to the house to shower before going to dinner. I hopped in before my brother and enjoyed the quietness. After a while Chris comes barging in (cue anti-hero theme). Now usually the yelling match would ensue but I swear to you, I kept it calm. I honestly don’t remember raising my voice. But Chris started in on the fact that he needed to shower before our dinner reservations in, oh, 15 minutes (cue dramatic camera shots that sweep back and forth between the two of us. But they’re clean camera shots because, yes, I’m in the shower). Still maintaining my calm to his yelling, the curtain suddenly flies open and he rips me right out of the still running shower. Next comes another voice into the bathroom and one arm that grabs a stark naked me and another arm that grabs my brother. My mom enters and immediately starts in on me (Cue flashback that would show, statistically, she picked the right kid). I then lose it and, still naked, go absolutely batty. I mean we’re talking purple in the face because I don’t think I even stop to breathe nuts that she’s even going to blame this on me. Over her shoulder I see Chris with a big smile on his face (that’s right, I saw it) as she throws me into the closest bedroom and shuts the door behind her. (And yes, still, no clothes, no towel). The purple only changes to red because I do take a breath but continue to scream. (side note: I just realized that sometimes my parents probably just let us keep screaming at each other because they knew it would tire us right out. Hmmm). I eventually do stop the crying (oh yes, there were tears) and screaming but for many years, I held onto the innocence that I did not cause the fight to begin. I held onto the innocence that it was not my voice that brought her in from outside. Nay, the only thing I was guilty of was having a brother who probably got more enjoyment out that moment than any home run he hit before that, any basket he made in basketball, or any A he got on a test.

And then I grew up and realized that I did a lot wrong in this situation but I have yet to hear any admission from him that it was his voice that started the whole thing. How about this Chris, I admit to, as a kid, taking money from where you hid it (tucked in the St. Louis Cardinals flag that used to be attached to the ceiling) to rent a video game if you admit to your involvement in the “Seabrook Fight”. (Cue camera going to a smile on his face and credits right before he admits it).

  • Another Chris and Jeff Spain story involves no fighting but simply a Strike 3 call. I was an umpire for little league as a young teenager. My very first game out of a quick, informal training session, was the championship game of my brother’s league. Oh, and my dad was also the coach of my brother’s team. You could not have written a better scenario in a movie as the game headed to the bottom of the 6th, 2 outs, runners on 2nd and 3rd, and my brother stepping to the plate. Having the flashback in my head right now, I even think I remember my mom saying in a soft, very gentle way behind me, “Call it fair Jeffrey”. Again, I kid you not, it goes to a legitimate full count. Pitcher winds up, throws, and puts this ball wayyyy off the plate. To be honest, I think I even made the call before the ball got to the plate. “Strike three” I call. It wasn’t like a “SSSTTTRRRIIIKKKEEEE TTTHHHREEEEE!!!”. It was more like a soft, “strike thre” (leaving the last e off for emphasis). But at the same time it was uncontrollable. I don’t think I consciously choose to call him out. My mind just took over and I remember looking down at my count clicker to click in the third strike and the last out of the game. The other team erupts. My mom immediately puts me in a car and drives me home. I think the first words out of my dad’s mouth when he got home were in a very dad like way, “How far outside was that pitch?”. Chris on the other hand, I may still have a shoulder twitch from the amount of times would would walk by me and “accidentally” knock his shoulder into mine.

There are a ton more stories but, again, I’ve got to save them for when I’ve got a packed house and a microphone in my hand. But I will leave you and him with this.

Chris may be a saint. He’s been a great brother but in a few ways I’m comfortable mentioning here: He respectfully sat through numerous plays and musicals. He never used my allergies to his benefit. Most recently, he’s been a voice that not too many people are comfortable being as I go through some life changes. He has been and will continue to be a great resource, a great friend, and a great brother. Much love to you on your birthday and every day. Keep on rockin to your “lack of a bass beat” music out in California. Say hello to Stacy for me. Never stop doing what you’re doing. Thanks and have fun in class.