Okay, I'm slipping this in the nick of time ... only 26 minutes left of Gabe's birthday ... Ack!
So, here's the deal. I met Gabe when he was a tot and then a kid and then a pre-teen and now a full-fledged Teen with a capital 'T.' He is the son of my very adorable friend, Andrea, a high school pal who is now like family to me. I saw Gabe recently when I was visiting 'Dre at their new spread in Upland, California. I came to check out the new pad, peruse her cool doll projects and squeeze her sweet hubby, Barry. She also has four dogs and two cats - that was a big draw too.
When last I hung out with Gabe, he was all about the GameBoy. I was playing the Nanny role, helping to take care of Gabe and his sister, Samantha, during End of Trail - which is kind of like the Prom for cowboy types. While his mother was off winning cowboy action shooting competitions, I tried my best to entertain them. Samantha and I had lots of fun at the petting zoo but Gabe wanted none of it - just let him alone with the GameBoy. (I started calling him GabeBoy.)
Somewhere in my files, I have a great photo of a bucking bronco and a cowboy flying off the horse. In the lower half of the same frame, Gabe is deeply entrenched in the game, with zero interest in the live action going on mere feet from him. Such focus!
Flash forward several years and he has grown up, moved on and even offers hugs to visiting old ladies like me! What a delight! He even let me photograph him to my heart's content - what a sport!
At left is a photo I took that encapsulates the modern teenage diet: a glass of milk and a duct-taped cell phone. One might call it Breakfast of Champions.
The photo at right is one of my favorites. I'd asked him, "Can you please supply me with a typical teenage look? Something that says, 'I'm-so-embarrassed' or 'you-are-so-lame' or 'why-are-you-taking-my-picture, you dumb ass?'and he immediately obliged. Perfect, no?
Anyway, when I meet people like Gabe, who only just happen to be young, I feel a whole lot better about the future. Gabe is smart, kind, handsome, talented and most importantly, open-hearted. His family is strong, funny and behind him 100% - what more do you need? Maybe a GameBoy? I asked him about it.
"I cannot BELIEVE how much time I wasted on that thing," he said, covering his handsome face. "That was stupid."
Happy Birthday, Gabe! The world is your oyster, my friend.