Archive for November, 2013

Saying Goodbye To Cooter

Posted in Uncategorized on November 25, 2013 by bigdaddygouda

Aaron Maziarz, or Cooter as most of us know him, passed away on Thursday.

Up until that very day I considered myself lucky in terms of losing people. Aside from a set of grandparents I’d never lost anyone close to me. And certainly not a close friend that I have known since 4th grade.

Up until Thursday “shock” was just a word in the dictionary. But when I found out the terrible news, for the first time in my life I think I experienced SHOCK in its truest sense. The news took my breath away and left me completely numb. They say you share a part of yourself with close friends. If that is indeed the case, there is a part of me that ceased to exist when Cooter left this world. That is the only way I can make sense of the void I feel now.

Its an enormous loss that sent shock waves through my group of friends. Especially us guys who shared a bond growing up that I doubt many people on this earth are lucky enough to experience. But I wish the friendships I shared with Cooter and the boys on everyone. I’m confident the world would be filled with much happier people if they could have experienced half the joy that I did growing up with Cooter as a friend.

And as devastating as this is for his friends, it does not compare at all with the grief, anger and frustration his family must be feeling. Besides being a wonderful friend Aaron was also a son, a brother, a husband and most importantly, a father. I remember the morning his daughter was born. He left me a message on my phone telling me to come see “his little angel.”

The cold hard sad truth is Aaron is gone. I know the old cliche is “time heals all wounds,” or as Stephen King so eloquently put it, “Time fixes everything, whether we want it to or not.”

I pray that is true.

All we have now are memories. But remembering does help. In the midst of immense grief over the past 4 days I’ve also laughed while sharing happy memories about Cooter.

I’d like to share a few:

  • I was living at Central and Cooter and Tai were coming for a visit. We were under 21 so naturally we needed an adult to buy us beer. I volunteered my mother and told the boys to stop by her house on the way and grab it. About an hour later Cooter and Tai arrived with a 30 pack of Bush Light. Cooter was only too quick to tell me that my mother was hitting on him. “You think every girl is hitting on you,” I said, a tad bit annoyed. “Why do you think she was hitting on you?” Cooter shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Well she put her hand on my cheek and told me I had a nice smile and perfect teeth.”
  • We were at the Bantam Carnival playing a game called 60 second romance. The object was simple, go up to a random girl and you have 60 seconds to get her phone number. To say Cooter was a hall of famer at this would be an understatement. I think his record, which still stands, was about 3.2 seconds.
  • Speaking of the Bantam Carnival. My sophomore year I had a crush on Becca Clock. Naturally my guy friends knew it and encouraged me to talk to her when I spotted her by the ferris wheel. I worked up ALL the courage I had and began an awkward conversation with her. About two minutes in, Cooter creeped up behind me and pulled my shorts and boxers down. There I stood,in front of the girl I loved, completely naked from the waste down. And while witnesses say I pulled my pants up with lightening speed, in that moment seconds felt like hours.
  • I was on my way to his house and Cooter asked that I pick up two things: A diet pepsi (duh) and a birthday card for his mother. I picked out the sappiest cheesiest lovey-dovey mother/son birthday card I could find. When I arrived at Tannery Brook I casually set the diet pepsi and birthday card on the table. Coots picked up the card and read it as a look of horror flashed over his face. “Gouda,” he said, sternly. “I love my mother but I can’t give her a card like this.” Luckily, deep down, I knew that as I then pulled out the humorous birthday card I picked up as a spare.
  • It was Christmas time and Coots was in New Orleans visiting his brother Matt. Tai was tasked with picking up a Christmas tree for his family. Without hesitation Cooter volunteered his blue Subaru for transportation since it was just “sitting in the driveway at Tannery Brook.”  It took Tai about a half hour to pick up the tree and bring it back to his house. And while the Christmas tree did in fact end up at Tai’s house in Northfield, Cooter’s car did not end up back at Tannery Brook. Tai called Ads and I and offered to drive us to Boston to visit Bub and Christine. In Cooter’s car!! “Aw, he wont mind dude….it’s not like he’s using it.” I still remember listening to Cooter shout threw the phone at Tai as we sat in Bub’s dorm room at BC, drinking ourselves silly.
  • Cooter, Mark and Ashlie FORCED me to go on The Superman ride at 6 flags. I ended up in the seat next to Cooter. As we were about to take off I was already white knuckle as I held on to the arm bar. I informed Cooter that my eyes were remaining shut the whole ride and to tell me when its over. For the entire 1 minute and 30 second coaster ride Coots gave me a running commentary of every twist and turn and loop as it happened. At one point I did manage to open one eye. Ill never forget the image of Cooter with his arms raised above his head as we shot around a corner.
  • New Years 1999. We were in Boston at Bub’s apartment on Eggermont. As a group of friends New Years always has been OUR HOLIDAY. We were sad to learn that Cooter had to work at the village and for the first time in 4 years would not be ringing in the new year with us. Fast forward to seconds before Midnight. We were huddled around the TV doing the countdown. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4 and then the door flung open and in walked Cooter along with Krista! He got out of work early and raced up to Boston in record time so he could spend the holiday with his friends. And while it was quite the moment, im convinced to this day that Coots arrived in Boston around 11 but sat out in the car until just before midnight so he could make a grand entrance.
  • I arrived home from College one weekend to find Cooter parked in front of my house. He was helping my grandparents carry groceries. He was driving by and saw my gram struggling with a bag and stopped to help. She never forgot that act of kindness and always referred to Aaron as “the handsome one.” Shocker I know.
  • The night before his brother Matt’s wedding we were having drinks at Senior Panchos. It was karaoke night and we were singing a duet of Living on A Prayer. I had a few drinks and decided (with encouragement from Jamie) to start adding swears into the song. “We gotta (fucking) hold on to what we got. It doesn’t make a (fucking) difference if we make it or not.” During the guitar solo Coots covered his microphone, leaned in close to me and said, “Gouda, sing it right.” I was goofing around but apparently Aaron was trying out for American Idol.

Truth is I could write a book filled with just memories of our time together. And believe me there is a lot more. Like my first U2 concert, group dinners that Cooter cooked for us, a million parties at Tannery Brook, Yankess/Red Sox games courtesy of his mother Sharon, Sushi Dinners, his game winning goal against Wamogo, the party bus, bachelor parties in Vegas and Rhode Island, the bus ride to and from the Mets game for Matt’s bachelor party, Setback Sundays at his place in Harwington and Litchfield,  Adam’s flat tire on the way to NH, Friday nights at the Brickyard, Thursday nights at UCONN, Study hall with Coots, Bub, and Goat, “It landed on me head,”  Pandemonium shows at Murphy & Scarletti’s, Late nights with Voltron in Tai’s room, Planning Jewett’s stag party at Knights of Columbus, the missing JFK puzzle piece, Senior year swim meets with him and Joe, tying Adam up in his basement during a party, Poker nights with his brother Rich, bub and the thumbtacks, Puerto Rican Rum, Toad at Infinity Hall, Football at Bantam Community Field, Ice Ice Baby at the 8th grade dance…..

I will miss my friend Aaron forever. May He Rest In Peace.