ForeverMissed
Stories

Virginia Beach, VA

Shared by Dana Dobrenchuk on March 18, 2018

So,
Greg came to visit me at my house in Virginia Beach, around 1994-95.  I can't remember the exact year.  He had a great time golfing at the course at NAS Oceana.  Then, I needed some help with my 1987 Buick Regal "T" Type.  The fuel tank had rusted through, was leaking, and needed to be replaced.  I got a new one, we drained and un-bolted the old leaky one, and we were lying on our backs in the driveway trying to get the new one in place.  Sometime during all that, Greg rolled over, and said "Look, here's a 4-leaved clover!"  I couldn't believe it - I had never seen one before!  

Sure enough, an actual, real-live, 4-leaved clover, growing in a clump of regular 3-leaved clovers!  I don't know how he spotted it!  Greg picked it, and placed it out flat between two small pieces of glass or plastic.  I think I still have that here somewhere, now I have to go look for it!

Thanks for all your help, my Brother, and Happy Birthday to you!
Love, Dana
 

 

Batter Up

Shared by Dana Dobrenchuk on March 18, 2015

Dear Greg,

It’s baseball season again, and so I naturally think of you…  I remember all the times playing catch, and all our batting practice sessions in our back yard in Wenham, using the plastic “whiffle balls”.  Then, you turned it up a notch, and we started using the plastic golf balls instead!  Faster, more movement, and harder to hit!  But you knew it was good hit if it cleared the lilac bushes, and it went to Eaton Rd or Miss Johnson’s yard!  You tried to teach me to pitch – curveballs, sinkers, knuckleballs – but I was never close to being as good as you were.  But thanks for trying to coach me.  And I remember as a kid going to all your games with Mom and Dad to watch you play…  I’ll never forget that Grand-Slam homer  you hit at Patton Park!  That was awesome!  If I remember correctly, that won the game, didn’t it?  You were good, really good!  And we enjoyed watching, as much as you enjoyed playing.   “Batter Up!”

Love, Dana

Trips and Travels

Shared by Dana Dobrenchuk on March 18, 2014

I remember the many motorcycle trips Greg and I used to take...  Sometimes, we didn't even know where we going to go, except "up north, and into the country".  We rode all over NH, ME, VT, upstate NY, and even up to Toronto to visit our sister and her family.  The Canada trip was a long haul, that's for sure!

One time, we set out late on a trip up north, and when we got way up into Maine, it was well past dark.  I don't think we even knew exactly where we were, when we decided it was time to call it a night.   We were driving on a country road, and now it was really dark by this time. So we looked for a secluded place to turn off.  We made a quick campsite well off the road we had been travelling on, and turned in for the night...

When we woke up the next morning, we were more than just a little bit surprised to see we were camped on the edge of a dump!  Well, we got a good laugh out of that, and since we still needed to eat breakfast, we decided to make a small fire and cook up some bacon and eggs, before riding on.  So, we did just that.  We were both laughing about it, and ate our breakfast on the edge of the dump, like a couple of hobos!  Of all the places to stop for the night, in all that wilderness!

Good times!

"Get the gun!"

Shared by Dana Dobrenchuk on March 18, 2013

When Greg and I were both living at our Parent's house in Wenham, we often had a problem with dogs and/or raccoons getting into our trash can.  It was very annoying having to clean up the mess after the trash cans had been "raided".  So, our usual solution, if we could catch the perpetrators in the act, was to use our Crossman BB gun to drive the offending pests off, hoping to teach them a lesson not to return.

Well, one December evening, we both heard a noise in the yard.  Assuming the trash was being raided again, one of us (I don't remember who) opened the front door to try to hear the noise better, and simultaneously turned and yelled to the other "Get the gun!"  (which we kept handy in the kitchen corner for such occasions.)

Just then, both of now standing at the open front door, with BB gun now in hand, we were mortified to see the noise was created by a group of young Christmas carolers, and an adult chaperone, coming through the neighborhood to pay us a visit.  The look on their faces was priceless!  (they obviously had heard us!)  We did our best to explain the situation, and told them, no, we weren't the Scrooge brothers, and we weren't going to use the BB gun on them!  After they left, and we closed the door, Greg and I both laughed so hard I think we cried.  Ever since that episode, the phrase "get the gun!" would always bring an instant smile and laughter to us both...

So tell me, Greg, my memory is fuzzy - was it you who said "get the gun!", and me who brought it to the door, or were the roles vice-versa?  Either way, it doesn't matter - it was hilarious (you had to be there), and that simple phrase would bring us many,many laughs for years after.  (If that happened today, Greg, we'd probably both be arrested!)

Greg, it made me smile just thinking about it again.  I love you, and miss you, my Brother! 

HOCKEY

Shared by Dana Dobrenchuk on March 18, 2012

Greg and I always loved to play hockey as kids (and adults).  Greg loved to play any sport, hockey just happened to conveniently fall in between the football and baseball seasons!  (if he wasn't playing basketball)  We were avid Bruins fans back in the glory days of Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Derek Sanderson, and Jerry Cheevers...

When we were kids, we used to set up a net at the end of the driveway, in front of the garage door.  We'd take turns - one of us would be goalie, and the other would practice his best wrist-shots and slap-shots.  We could spend hours doing that...

I remember one particular time, after a fresh snowfall,  when we both walked out to Cedar Pond in Wenham, near where we lived.  We brought a snow shovel, and a broom, to prepare our "rink".  It was just Greg and I, alone on this huge frozen pond, going one-on-one, trying to break-away and score at an imaginary goal we had set up at one end of the pond.  Greg would always beat me, every single time, it made me mad, but it also made me try harder.  The air was crisp and cold, there was the fresh snow on the ground, and the ice was PERFECT!  It was so much fun, it was ideal, (kind of like the movie "Field of Dreams" but in the winter), and it's a cherished memory I will always carry with me forever...  Thanks, Brother!

I still have your new skates Greg, still in the box!  Haven't used them yet, but I hope to get a chance to, someday soon.  But nobody will ever fill those skates as well as you...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BROTHER!  God Bless You.  Love you and miss you.

Dana 

socks

Shared by Vance Odonnell on February 13, 2012

Our last chuckle together was shortly before he died...it was about how some mornings required extra creativity to get our socks on...due to stiff bones, too much ice cream, or age...we were just laughing at how the simple act of getting our socks on was not always so simple.

Greg told me he sometimes had to lie on his back and lift his feet into the air...I loved that visual...practically busted a gut laughing...

My technique seemed boring in comparison...down on one knee and pray I would not throw my back out or bang my head on the edge of a table going down on one knee...

From there we got into funny back injuries...Greg couldn't think of any fun times he had hurting his back but I could...it was the time I was putting my boxers on and I caught my big toe in the waist band, I got twisted up trying not to fall down but lost it and crashed...my chiropractor said I was the first boxer short back injury he'd ever treated...

I can still hear Greg chuckling at our conversation...damn he knew how to chuckle...I miss that.  

Shared by Dana Dobrenchuk on March 18, 2011

 

Greg and I would have to agree that the best meal we ever had was one particularly delicious home-cooked turkey dinner, with all the trimmings, made by our Mom. (Every meal made by Mom was always delicious, but this one was even more special…)
 
It was early autumn in 1982 (as best as I can recall), and Greg and I rode our motorcycles up to Canada to visit our sister Donna and her family. On our trip back home, we stayed overnight somewhere around Lake George, NY. When we woke up that morning, for the last leg home, it was raining steadily (neither of us had even bothered to look at a weather forecast).
 
Well, we set off for home into the rain, which only got worse and worse the further we rode. Before long, we were both soaked to the skin, despite having good rain gear on. I remember we stopped briefly under a highway overpass somewhere in the Berkshires to get out of the rain for a few minutes, and Greg took his boots off, and literally poured the water out of them! It looked just like he was pouring water out of a pitcher, from his boots! We both got a good chuckle out of that, and then we hit the road (and the rain!) again. After a while, Greg began falling behind me a little bit, and I didn’t understand why. It was only later that I found out (much to my chagrin) that Greg’s glasses were constantly fogging over from all the water, and he was having a hard time seeing me.
 
When we finally got home around sunset, after riding several hours through the cold rain, we were tired, hungry, and cold (so cold from being wet and in the wind all day, we were probably both nearly hypothermic). Well, when we got home, there was Mom, waiting for us – she was so glad and relieved that we were home safely, and the whole house smelled of a wonderful turkey dinner. Greg and I dried off, cleaned up, and enjoyed the warmth of home (physical and spiritual), and then feasted on that delicious meal. It absolutely HIT THE SPOT!
 
We always talked about that day, and especially THAT DINNER that Mom had made for us, for years, and years, after that.   Yessiree, Greg, that was absolutely the best meal ever – wasn’t it? I can almost taste it again, now… And thanks again, Mom, from both of us, for that perfect dinner you fixed for your two soaked riders, in from the cold!
 
All my love, forever,   Dana

 

March 18, 2011

Shared by Dana Dobrenchuk on March 18, 2011

Dear Greg,

On your 60th Birthday, I reflect on how proud I am to have had you as my “big brother” for all these years.  Growing up, you were always my role model and inspiration.
 
There is so much more I wanted us to do together, and so much more I wanted to talk to you about. But the memories we shared together, and my love for you, will last with me forever…
 
Your generosity, integrity, honesty, sense of humor, physical strength, kind heart, athletic ability, and musical skills will always be remembered, and admired and cherished, by me.
 
Please know that you are greatly loved and missed by all who knew you – we were all truly blessed to have had such a great brother, and friend, as you. You are sorely missed, but we take comfort in knowing that you are now in a better place.
 
May you rest in peace for all eternity in God’s heavenly kingdom!
 
Happy Birthday, my Brother!
 
until we meet again,  Love, Dana

A man of Christ

Shared by Guy Parrotta on March 5, 2011

   I remember, shortly after the horrible events of 9/11, Greg called me, asking me if there might be some agency might be seeking volunteers to provide humanitarian aid, if further attacks reached our homeland, 

    He specified that he didn't care what he might be called upon to do. In spite of the physical pain he endured on a daily basis,Greg's thoughts were not for himself, but only for those around him, whose needs might be greater than his own.

   That was Greg, selfless and caring, placing the welfare of others above his own. My cousin truly possessed the heart of a lion, and the compassion of Christ. I pray that  more like him are born into this life, so that the rest of us may learn by their example.  I am proud to have known him.

   God bless you, Greg.

Shared by Linda Wigglesworth on March 4, 2011

I remember your “Davy Crockett” with the coonskin cap phase (and the snow forts built!);  your “cowboy” phase with authentic boots, hat, and gun holster (thanks to our Dad’s reserve duty trips to CO);  your Cub and Boy Scout days;  your baseball -playing days, your teasing sister phases, your football- playing days, your guitar-drum-band days, your motorcycle days, your forestry days, your master carpentry days, your golfing days, your home-made pizza party days....I so wish you were here to reminisce about them, each and all.  I was looking forward to your Big Birthday upcoming, for Celebration, for Reunion. We all were.....

Your multiple skills and many talents will always be missed:  master carpentry/woodworking, music-making, landscape designing, and cooking among them....in addition to being a talented athlete in more than one sport. 

As a family, it is you, that we miss, dear Greg.  The love in our hearts is forever.  We remember you, each and every day.....

 

Cheated

Shared by Vance Odonnell on February 1, 2011

Greg buddy we were cheated

we did not get to be old men together

It all went by so fast.  You were there and now you’re not.

I loved to make you laugh with my stories, my take on what I saw, and what I thought.

 

There are going to be so many things I want to tell you,

there are so many things I wish I had said.

Today is another day I could have called you

It is snowing again, you could smile at your luck at missing it.

 

Tell me you have found paradise at last

Tell me your soul is at peace

Tell me we will meet again

Tell me you miss me.

 

 

 

 

 

Snowed In

Shared by Vance Odonnell on January 12, 2011

Snowed in

 

As storms go this one is being efficient

not raging but not stopping.

Venturing into the daily lottery of travel holds little interest for me

woke up wanting to stay home anyway.

 

Greg died...did not make it through the solstice

He was my best friend

college was the beginning

hearts connected in the physical realm now linger in the spiritual 

 

I wish he was here 

we’d put another log on the fire

but he would not come

he loved the warm air in the south on the water

 

Funny how two friends can both love the outdoors

but not really want to be where the other is.

The snow is traveling sideways

in no hurry to land

 

I imagine Greg might have been watching shore birds this morning

hunting through the warm,soft,wet sand.

They will move along the beach today

he won’t see them, but maybe he does.

 

Alone in a snow storm

not knowing when it will end.

Our sleeping cats have no care

I have another day ahead to feed the fire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shingles on

Shared by Vance Odonnell on January 8, 2011

 

It was winter...I'd started shingling the new addition to my house back in the spring...it was a project that had gone on for way too long...I was doing it the hard way...rough cut and unfinished....each shingle had to be sorted for quality, then dipped in stain, then sorted and stacked to air dry....11 squares is a huge number...I'd gotten to know each shingle like it was a family member...the good news was i was on the home stretch with only one side left to do...the bad news was it was now winter...but the good news was I had left the last side to be the south side..it would be in the sun...but winter on the coast of Maine is still winter.

Greg and I had re-connected after the decade after college had taken him out west and I had settled into my family life on Mount Desert Island in Maine...every trip to Boston was also a trip to stop in a spend time with Greg in Wendam....I had invited Greg to come up to Maine at least a million times...I think my invitations finally wore him out and he accepted...he was coming to help me finish my shingle project.

My daughters were just little kids...like 6 and 8 year old little kids...Greg arrived in his prized van...I got over having a van after only having one and swore I would never own another one...but he loved his...to me it was a box on wheels that was awful in the snow...to him it was a place of magic...his world was inside it.

He looked over my project and suggested we build an enclosure with poly film to keep us out of the wind and let the sun warm us...there was snow and temps were expected to be only in the high teens..it was anything but perfect weather for the task at hand.

We put together some frame work for the ploy in no time...the wind and the poly had some fun but we finally won the game and the shingle party could begin...in short order the sun had warmed up our space so we could take our coats off...it was a spring like day inside our tent...we finished the last side of the house in one day...what I had been dreading was over with a little help from my friend.

That night Greg slept in his van...my daughters asked me why...I told them that it was what he wanted to do because he loved his magic van...he felt safe in it.

 

makin music

Shared by Vance Odonnell on January 6, 2011

Greg gave me many memories...in our early college days we had been doing those 60's things...we ended up at another friend of his dorm room...it was set up for making music...key board, drums, guitars, and a sound system...it was like no other dorm room I had seen...Greg and I lived in a ramshackle old military barracks on campus left over from WWII...our rooms were let's say small...

After a while and few more refreshments the small talk ended...Greg started playing...his friend, John, went on the drums and I sat at the key board...my piano lessons were a distant memory at best...quit them in 6th grade...but some how I remember we started to sound pretty good...it was no music any of us knew...it was just created...fresh...raw...we went on for hours until it was almost dawn.

It was my first  time I ever made music like that...I guess I'm hanging around waiting for the next time...sweet memory my friend.

Love is The Deal,

Vance 

Greg and I when we met

Shared by Diane Rogers on January 4, 2011

Greg and I met in the year 2000.  We went together approximately a year. Greg was gifted in so many ways.  There was something special about Greg.  He was always ready to help anybody.  He had a big heart.   He was able to fix anything, played the guitar so well, boy could he cook.  We took turns.  I will miss him very much.  I won't be able to talk to him anymore.  Very sad.  He is resting in peace.

Forevermissed.... One of his best friends Diane

Shared by Donna Noble on January 3, 2011

I never realized how much my brother loved the guitar until he shared this story with me....In high school I dated a boy who gave me a guitar. And Greg would sneak it downstairs to the basement and play it, when I was away. One day after a break-up with this boyfriend, I smashed the guitar. And Greg valiantly tried to clue it back together. He loved playing the guitar almost as much as he loved his family!    a thought from Donna    Jan. 3, 2011

Greg

Shared by Dana Dobrenchuk on January 1, 2011

My Sister Donna reminded me of how Greg lived a life much like Jesus's... 

Greg was also a carpenter, and he was honest, kind, caring, and compassionate to everyone he met.  He was the kind of man that would literally "give you the shirt off his back" if you needed it...

The world could use alot more men like Greg.  God Bless you, brother!

Dana

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