"I need your help. I can't tell you what it is, you can never ask me about it later, and we're gonna hurt some people."
"Whose car we takin?"
- The Town
September, 1982. I was five years old and was spending my time at Adams elementary school in Coon Rapids, MN. During the first half of the first quarter of school I started going half of the day to kindergarten and half of the day to first grade for a few weeks, then jumping full into life as a first grader. I don't recall being nervous or scared or excited that first day with "the big kids" in first grade. What I remember was lunch.
In kindergarten, lunch wasn't on the schedule, so bringing my lunchbox with me was a HUGE deal that first time. I sat in the first grade class (I don't even remember the teacher's name), in a desk in front of a short red-haired kid. I was quietly taking it all in, then the teacher said that it was time for lunch. I pounced upon the opportunity to break out my brand new lunchbox and thermos. I took it out of my desk, cracked it open and heard from behind me, "hey, we don't eat at our desks, we eat lunch in the cafeteria." I wheeled around in my chair, wondering who was talking to me and what on earth was this "cafeteria" about which he was speaking. I answered "we eat where?" He replied "just follow me, I'll take you."
That began my relationship with Kirk Erickson. For years we were inseparable. He lived across the creek from me, but since the creek was a wooded place, and full of untold dangers, we saw each other sparingly outside of school. But in school, we were glued at the hip. He showed me the ropes of first grade, and I told him of my "leaving the class for reading and math." Then when we were getting ready to come back from Christmas break in fifth grade, I went to my class and Kirk wasn't there. I looked at recess and in lunch, but he wasn't in any of the fifth grade classes. My best friend had abandoned me. I had to branch out, find a new group. Sure, I moved on, and in the middle of sixth grade moved from Coon Rapids to Ramsey and started a new school at Sandburg middle school. Life went on.
When I started eighth grade I moved from Sandburg to Fred Moore junior high. I didn't think much of it. Sure, there were new kids but I still had all of my Sandburg friends. In the fall I decided to go out for the football team. During the first week of practice, after running the stupid 100 yard sprints, I heard a familiar voice from underneath a helmet. I looked at the tape across the front of the helmet for a name and saw "Erickson". I was shocked. I happened to move to the same school that Kirk was in. Karma? Kismet? Either way, it was as if time didn't even move forward. We picked up where we left off and were again inseparable.
When we went to high school, we didn't have many of the same classes, but it didn't matter. Eide and Erickson were still close and we had lockers just a few apart. Things were going to be ok. We were still there for each other, and have many great memories from high school.
Life moves on, things change. I went of to college, but whenever I came home we picked up where we left off. Then I moved back and we were again connected at the hip. Softball, the Monday Night Wars, PlayStation, ill-advised road trips to Bemidji, getting jumped by townies in St. Cloud, girl troubles, life troubles, car troubles, dealing with growing up; we did it all ... together.
Eventually I moved out, got married with Kirk as my best man, and began my "adult" life and he began his. I have my family, he has his. Jobs, wives, kids, life, we share it all and know from where each other came., And still, whenever we get together (which is never frequently enough) it's the same, it's as if time doesn't matter. We're still there. 29 years later, he's still the guy I'd call if I had to hurt some people.