“Congrats, Scooter!” or “And then there were…five?”

Less than two months after Iggy’s surprise engagement announcement came the not-so-surprising announcement from my bud Scott. He got engaged Saturday evening around 7:30 p.m. in our humble abode. I got to play a small role in the festivities by fixing his room up with 2-dozen roses laid in a heart pattern on his bed, putting the ring box in the middle, setting up a couple dozen tee light candles and positioning shinny balloons.

It’s always fun to be a part that. I still have fond memories of setting up the room for Puffy and Laura’s New Year’s Eve engagement.

Crisis almost struck with Scooter, though. The plan was for him to call me when he was on the way home from dinner so I could light the candles and get out of the way. Otis called for some camera-purchasing advice and I chatted with him while cooking. Much to my horror, Scott pulled in while I was on the phone (where was the call-waiting, Sprint?) and I didn’t have the candles lit, nor the kitchen freed of the venison-burger smell…

So I cut off my conversation with Otis, saying there were some "events" taking place tonight (since I wanted Scott to be able to tell him the real story) and pulled Scooter aside while Julie did her usual bathroom-break-upon-arrival. I confessed I hadn’t gotten the candles lit. Scott was pretty smooth about it and just started lighting the candles himself, awaiting Julie’s entrance.

I skedaddled downstairs and turned on some "appropriate" music, hoping it might leak through our hardwood floors and help the mood. I don’t know if they heard it or not; I doubt in those moments you remember hearing much of anything. But, it’s the thought that counts, right?

About a half hour later, I heard Julie’s voice thanking me for helping with everything. I gave her a hug and Scott a hug and then we had fun recounting the event from our individual perspectives. She was surprised: mission accomplished.

And so the countdown to true, solo, roommate-less bachelorhood begins.

As Randy put it so appropriately, it feels like the end of an era. Scott and I grew up together, gave each other bloody noses playing snow football, competed in countless street-ball tournaments, drilled people from the inside linebacker position side-by-side for two years, experienced a frustrating freshman year of college being roommates and having divisive girlfriends, returned to our roots our junior year, traveled to England and Scotland together, started our first real jobs on the very same day, bought a house together a year later, and conquered the canyons of Utah last fall. Not to mention the hours upon hours we’ve spent in the weight room together, always (or nearly always) valuing the time together as much as the fitness benefits.

There were the sleepovers in his basement, video games after video games, our 22-2 senior year of basketball, euchre tournaments, always competing against each other for the role of best athlete (he, obviously, has more raw skill; I’m in better shape)…I could write a book about the stuff we’ve done together.

But even deeper than all that stuff and experiences we’ve shared, we’ve developed a true, God-based brotherhood that I haven’t really experienced with anyone else. Living together can do that. But we lived together for years before turning the corner in our friendship. It happened when we started being deliberate about it–going to breakfast with Clark and talking about deep stuff. Sitting down to plan small group together, usually resulting in a four hour conversation. Ministering together via small group. Praying together. Stuff like that.

So…though it is an end of an era of sorts, we can be confident that the Lord is always doing new, exciting and better things with our lives. On to the next thing; we’ll only be growing apart in proximity.

By Joel Maust

Joel Maust is a marketer, blogger and photographer living in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.

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