Banff – Andy Shoneman

October 4, 2016 § Leave a comment

My next profile concerns one Andy Shoneman. I met Andy through Mike Barris and his wife Bonnie Marvel when they and some others were trying to put together a monthly or semi-monthly couples dinner out night. At the time, Susan and I were the only ones with kids, but that didn’t affect how often we tried to get out.

At the time, Andy was fairly new to NJ. I think he had recently been married, and he was working as a contractor for AT&T where he met Bonnie Marvel. Whatever those details were my interactions with Andy were somewhat limited for a while. We attended a few parties (Andy and Mechele put together a pretty decent Halloween Party), and I went over a few times to watch the Super Bowl, but over the years I had more interactions with Mechele rather than Andy. That was because while my wife, Susan, went to law school, and then went through Breast Cancer, and then traveled heavily for work, I covered for her in the weekly Mah-Jongg outings. It was during one of these outings at the Shoneman’s house when the subject of my then planned Grand Canyon adventure came up, and Mechele asked me if I thought Andy would like it. I wasn’t sure, but I said I would go down and talk to him after the game. Later that evening I descended into the cellar/basement to spend some time with Andy and Homer and whatever other dogs were down there, and I shared the idea with him, and from that day forward I got to know Andy a lot better.

Andy loves Zombies. Zombies everything, anytime, anywhere. Zombie Walk in Asbury Park? Andy is there. Need a Zombie book? Andy has over 300. Want to watch a Zombie horror film? Andy has them all. His commitment to Zombies matches Brian Freeman and his wife, and that isn’t an easy thing to accomplish.

Andy always has a short terse dry witty response that, once you get used to him and his ways, always makes you laugh. His retorts are smart and on point. He is very interested in understanding your position on a topic/issue. As opposed to me who can’t stand conservative ideology, Andy at least tries to listen, watch, read and generally tries to comprehend how they frame their arguments. He watched all the Rethuglikkklan debates and didn’t require resuscitation. He gives them the benefit of the doubt, but we both conclude the same result. They are batshit crazy.

Andy has Asthma, and he had both knees reconstructed in his past, so getting him ready for a Grand Canyon adventure was going to be a challenge. Sometime in December 2011 he asked for my help, and the only thing I could think to do was to simply start hiking, so we met 2 and 3 times a week, some times more and we banged out 4-5 miles each hike. Our two main stomping grounds were Hartshorne Park in Middletown, and Holmdel Park in Holmdel. Each day we did this, I could see the improvement in Andy’s development, and I could see Andy see the improvement.

This was Andy’s 3rd Big Adventure with me, and we have done a few minor weekend jaunts, as well as section hiked the AT in both NJ and NY. He doesn’t move fast, but he keeps moving, and that is all you need to get from A to B. Speaking of B, there is a standard performance at B almost every time. Sometimes more pronounced than others. Andy has a tendency to collapse into a blob at the end of a long arduous hike. It matters not if underneath him it is nothing but snow, or solid rock, Andy will collapse and not move until you say something like “Andy, would you like a sip of Scotch?” or “You getting hungry?” It is uncanny. He collapsed on a slab of rock in Monument Creek and really never left that spot until the morning. He did spread his sleeping pad, and bag on that slab, but that slab is forever known now as Andy’s Slab.

We have had some fun together, and I am sure we will continue to have enjoy the back-country in many more outings in the coming years.

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