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Thursday Treasures

Falling in the Future of 100
By: Mariel G

When I was little, well younger, an unusual cricket lived in the semi-furnished basement of the NJ Trio. The lone cricket was one of many tiny beings that would temporarily find a home in our humble labyrinth of a house. For weeks, whenever our elementary school selves would stay up late at night to play 'Falling in the Future' or 'The Ride,' the little bugger, with his uncanny ability to remain hidden, would chirp till no end and interrupt the thrilling (now hilarious) soundtrack constructed from our imaginations.

Look how tiny Alb and Reub were!

Our dad often pushed aside our complaints about the constant stridulation and would leave the cricket alone, insisting that the bug was our personal Jiminy Cricket looking out for the three of us. 'Do you really want me to get rid of Jiminy Cricket? Remember what happened to Pinocchio when he ignored Jiminy?' Well with that reasoning, we decided to listen to our dad. I mean what six year old wants to transform into a guffawing donkey?

 Starting to "grow up" with Pluto

Eventually, the incessant, late night chirping subsided. I always believed that Jiminy found a wife and they had a family, since not too long after we had an outdoor orchestra of chirpers to lull us to sleep. Just like the cricket's music, the NJ Trio's childhood faded away and was replaced with the excitement and pains of trying to grow up. When the Trio had time away from friends and school to hang out together, 'The Ride' was replaced with Nick at Night or Vault Disney reruns and capped off with hours long, sibling conversations, while our childhood constantly chirped in the background.

Some 'umpteen' years after our last midnight game of 'Falling in the Future,' the Disney subject rang us up in the evening hours of a humid, August Friday night in 2009. Instead of a 6 legged stridulate, we were joined by someone I last saw over two years prior. Both my brothers' eyes, already amazed by his Disney related knowledge, widened further at the fact that he had been scribing a book about Disney. Ok I was amazed, too.

October 2009: The night Brent officially finished editing his first book.

Thanks to technology, our imaginations took a break that night; and my brothers and I stayed up till the wee hour of four in the morning, virtually chatting Disney with, you guessed it, Mr. Brent 'You're darn tootin' I wrote an awesome Disney book' Dodge. One night turned into three and then Wednesday arrived. That night is number four out of five. Number four out of the number of moments in my life I can point to and claim, 'That's when it all changed.' That was around one hundred weeks ago.

I'll be the first to admit that out of the four of us, I was the least optimistic of the group. A few months into the (now legendary) W.E.D.nesday show, my forecast for the length and run of the show was pretty meager compared to the boys' predictions of five or ten years. I predicted something way less. Yeah, yeah, I know ' I'm a goofball because wouldn't you know it, two years is only a few weeks away. At the time, I believed that life would get in the way ' you know, work, significant others, family, the whole shebang of responsibilities and expectations of life.

But I realized last year, that no matter how long it lasts, the W.E.D.nesday show is and always will be a fixture in our lives. It's a fixture the four of us unknowingly created for each other, at a time when each of us were at that confusing crossroads so many people, Disney characters included, stumble upon. The four of us, slightly lost on our individual paths, were falling into a future of somewhere good, somewhere content; but not great, not amazing - at least according to our standards.

During these first two seasons of the show, others stumbled upon Brent's charismatic podcast; and before the four of us could say the first syllable of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, the show had regulars. The regulars became fast friends, and friends became a new version of family ' a group of people that support and inspire each other. Many might think the friendships odd because of the non traditional way everyone 'met.' But, that's merely because they have yet a chance to embrace the awesomeness of the W.E.D.friends.

Give or take forty two days ago; after nearly two years since the first four way conversation; and for the first time since 2004; Brent, Albert, Reuben, and I were all in the same room together, conversing the old fashioned way. All thanks to Disney, again'.well Disney and Southwest. The trio eagerly arrived in Brent's envious backyard that is Disney World to help Reuben move in for his new job in Florida.

That same week we met up with our fellow W.E.D.friends (in order of appearance): Becky, Alex, Kayleigh, Erik, Nini, Amanda, Andy, Gary, Tom, Scarlett, Shane, Karen, Kim, Mike, and Ike. The first Disney Amazing Race (best game ever!) literally took breaths away, a scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner was gobbled up, W.E.D.friends flumed through some splashy falls, the first segment of 'Let's Hang Out at the Parks with W.E.D.friends' aired, and even a purse-baby was born. That was just two days. As we all gazed at the glowing sparks dazzling the sky behind Cinderella's castle, the recurring theme of Wishes spawned a couple droplets in my tear ducts. So much has happened since 2004 (when so much began), and so many dreams had become reality since that humid Friday night back in 2009.

On our last night together, Albs, Brent, Reub, and I gathered at an octagon shaped table (it took us a little longer than necessary to figure out it was 8 sided rather than 6) and took the past few days in. We couldn't believe where we all were in life and how much of an impact Disney and the W.E.D.nesday show had on us and countless others. Just like in 2009, the four of us unintentionally talked for hours on end. But this time, there were no screens, no keyboards. Heck, we could literally, not virtually, poke each other. This time the Trio and Brent weren't mere acquaintances. We were friends ' the W.E.D.friends of the octagon table. Cheesy, yes, but we have to mark the momentous occasion somehow.

Even though the question popped up myriad times before in past weeks, I once again silently asked no one in particular, 'How did any of us get here?' Eerily on cue, a familiar sound of chirping echoed in my ears. It was faint and far away, almost masked by the buzz of mosquitoes and the low hum of the old, fluorescent light bulb listening in on our octagon table conversation, but it was there. One little cricket, chirping its own melodic whisper. For a fleeting moment, I saw the four of us as children staying up way past our bedtime, eating chocolate chip cookies, and eagerly reliving our past week in Disney World.

Without realizing it, the four of us ' actually all of the W.E.D.friends ' have become each other's sneaky little Jiminy Cricket at one point or another the past one hundred weeks; either as an attentive ear, a supportive shoulder, a helping hand, an encouraging smile, a little spark of inspiration, or even a 'mom' telling someone that a certain shirt should not go in the dryer.

Whether it's through a podcast, a blog, a batphone, a pow, a smile, or a little whistle, we all have a little cricket to help us fall into our future with style.

 Spankin new logo designed by the NJ Trio =)

Thank you W.E.D.friends. Thank you Brent. Thank you Thing 1 and Thing 2.


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