Tuesday, November 17, 2009

To a dear, dear friend of ours.

To tell you the story of how I met Brad is to tell you about Mark Shumate, a projectionist, musician, and wonderful human being. Brad worked with Mark as a projectionist at the Janus and became really close friends with him, as well as Mark's best friend, fellow projectionist, Jeff. Their names are kinda synonymous. MarkandJeff. Years after his Janus years, Brad visits them in the projection booth. They'll jam out on guitar sometimes, and often chat in the parking lot into the wee hours of the morning.

I worked at the theater for years but I didn't get to know Mark until I became a manager. I started working nights and before I knew it, I had found a friend in him. He's so easy to talk to approachable. He soon made sure I had a ride home at the end of the night, sometimes as late as 2am on the weekends. It's tough to have a short conversation with Mark but I didn't mind that our trips home could take hours. We'd talk about politics, the theater, our families, shoot the crap, or sit and listen to Coast to Coast. There was never a dull moment and we got to know each other really well. He was the one that gave me my nickname, Raezin! He even called Mei Ling, my dog, Meizin.

One such night that Brad came a-calling, I needed a ride home from Mark. I remember Brad coming downstairs, into the backroom, and feeling incredibly anti-social all of the sudden. I thought he was a really attractive guy, but I remember thinking, "don't hit on me please! i smell like popcorn right now!"

Well, you know the rest. We've brought little Munch up to see MarkandJeff several times and they just fuss over her. It wasn't that long ago, maybe four or five months ago, when we all went up there together. Nobody knew that something was wrong then.

Mark has undergone treatment for colon cancer including chemo this month. We've been worried sick and are scared to even consider it but it's there: we might lose a really close friend of ours. Soon. We don't know how soon, or even if we'll lose him. We just know he's in really bad shape and he needs a miracle right now. It would mean a lot to us if you would pray for Mark.

We've got so much love for you, Mark Shumate. Be positive and try to hang in there if you can. You're constantly in our thoughts and we're sending you prayers and good vibes 24/7, buddy.

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