The Big 3-0

Now back to one of our original goals in creating this blog:  preserving a little family history. 

To those of you were in on roasting Matt for his 30th birthday, GRACIAS!!!  We laughed so hard at the party, Matt and I were both sore the next day.  If you missed the party, didn’t get a story in, or just want to know what the big deal was, Matt has been good humored enough to allow me to post the script and additional comments from the party.  We want to add some pictures, but still need to do some scanning, so share those with us if you have copies that fit in anywhere.  Thanks for all the laughs, babe!   Without further ado:

Matt has given us so much material over his thirty years that we weren’t sure where to start, and his wife didn’t make things any easier when she said we shouldn’t mention his criminal record because we didn’t want to make him mad.  That didn’t hold us up for long once the stories started pouring in.  For one thing, we figured Matt’s been involved in plenty of illegal activity that didn’t get him arrested.  From what we gathered, most of those things involved the back of Matt Kruzie’s truck.  Judith Nicholas shared one of many stories about Matt climbing out of the pickup’s passenger side window while traveling at some outrageous speed in order to pose surfer stance in the bed of the truck; she also recalled other experiences involving Matt’s sneakers sliding along wet pavement as Matt skied alongside the vehicle holding onto the tailgate or the passenger door.matts

Now Kruzie’s wife just had a baby, so we didn’t mind excusing him from attending, but he wanted to be sure he shared a little something as well.  When we asked people to send in their goods on Matt, we heard over and over, “I thought he was going to die,”  But Kruzie’s tale takes the cake.  Here’s what he wrote: 

It was a long, cold winter day in Provo, Utah when a group of poor Texas college students sat around the apartment wondering how they could go skiing with only a few bucks in their pockets.  It seemed impossible but we made it happen when it came to skiing (That is a other story for another day).  But anyways, the wheels started to turn in our small pea brains and before you knew it we had a plan.  We gathered our supplies and headed up Squaw Peak in Nate’s 4×4 pickup.  One would have thought to just drive to the top of Squaw Peak and just ski down but we had the bright idea of not just going downhill skiing but uphill skiing too!  We tied one end of the rope around the bumper and the other end to a stick.  I popped on the skis and Nate started pulling me up the mountain cruising behind Nate’s truck about 25 miles an hour.  Half way up the mountain, Nate took his turn til we reached the top.  It was Matt’s turn now…a beginner skier at the time but that didn’t cause me to slow down any as we flew down the windy, one lane, snow covered mountain road.  As we approached an upcoming hairpin turn I looked in my rear view mirror for the last time as I knew I would have to focus all my attention to making the turn…Matt was still going strong.  I cranked the steering wheel hard right and started fish tailing around the bend.  Matt went sailing to the outside, probably doubling his speed as he whipped around the bend.  I was hoping that neither the truck nor Matt would go flying off the side of the mountain.  As we made the bend, to my surprise a truck was right in front of me coming up the one lane mountain road.  I stomp on the brakes and came swerving to a stop.  Just as I was thinking, “Whoo, I’m glad we didn’t run head on into the other vehicle…I heard this SMAAACCCKKK right into the back of the truck!  From my side view mirror, all I saw was Matt fall stiff in the bank of snow on the shoulder of the road.  I thought Matt was dead!  For some odd reason we couldn’t stop laughing even though Matt did not move for minutes.  Matt finally moved his finger in effort to give some indication that he was still alive.  After all was said and done, Matt made off with only a couple of scratches & bruises but a unforgettable story to share with generations to come. 

Thanks, Matt.  You know, Matt could not have risked his life so many times without you.


Jonathon Fawcett was another partner in crime.  He told us more about Matt’s “Pyro” side.  Did you know they once lit the Fawcett’s driveway on fire with gasoline and lighters?  This part of Matt’s mania is still alive and well.  If anyone is looking for a good firework display, and even a little interaction, get in touch with him about the 4th of July (we now live outside city limits).

Matt’s near-death experiences were abundant.  Over and over, tales of deadly creatures popped up.  Dianne Orton told us the first time she met Matt he had 5 tarantulas.  Others remember Matt with rattlesnakes, crawdads, and frogs. Lest you think this is all long ago, we also have it on good authority that he recently captured a black widow.  

True to form, he couldn’t bring himself to harm the lethal spider; he caught it and fed it, not sure what to do.  Jamie insisted this could not go on, but when he tried to get an acquaintance in the entomology department of UT to take her, his friend said black widows were the only creatures that scared him; in short, even the professionals wouldn’t touch Matt’s find.   

We quickly realized our boy scout’s love of critters wasn’t his only fascination with nature.  Sharing a tale about Matt climbing a particularly large tree, Maria Fawcett told us, “I’ve never seen anything like it, except for monkeys.  Matt has a passion for climbing trees- well, and for conquering, exploring, even sleeping in them.  Ken Hanks, our beloved MC- thanks for hilarious delivery, by the way- mentioned a certain trip to Florida when Matt was a youth.  Brother Hanks noticed Matt hadn’t been around for a little while, and started asking around.  Some time went by, and Ken was starting to get concerned when someone said, “Have you checked the trees?”  Sure enough, as Ken scoured the surrounding treetops, one branch high up in a palm tree was behaving rather strangely:  “Was it a bird, a plane?  No,” said Brother Hanks.  “It was Super Matt.

Super Matt, indeed.  Boy scouts he led told us tales of Matt leaping over large rocks and boulders at Enchanted Rock in a single bound.  Be careful, though.  Attempting Super Matt’s feats can get you into a pickle, as his brother Adam can relate.  After watching Matt scale the impossible cliff, Adam knew he could do it, too, but that last reach proved to be too much, and Adam was lucky to be with us after his fall (This was Matt’s version, now, so be sure to check the comments section later for all his brothers’ tales of how Matt fell short of their amazing performances). Remember the college students that had to be rescued from the Austin cave a couple years ago?  Matt’s always loved Airman’s cave, but after that story, he couldn’t get there fast enough.  He led 3 more groups in that year, looking up maps of the cave on the Internet, trying to go farther and farther inside.   

Now we don’t want anyone to think that Matt’s entertainment value can only be found outdoors.  Have you ever seen the man eat?  It’s an art, really.  If you’ve never dined with him, we’d like to warn you to budget your time wisely.  Don’t expect him to be on time, and be sure to allot at least 20 minutes for him to choose a menu item.  His boss tells us they had to build in extra time for their weekly lunches when Matt came to work in their office.  Once a year, when they have a Christmas dinner at a finer restaurant, Matt’s been known to peruse the menu online for weeks before the meal, just to weigh his choices carefully.  Then he takes just as long as everyone else to order when he arrives.  You might think part of your time would be waiting for Matt to consume at least twice as much as everyone else at the table, but his boss and his wife confirm that indeed, unless you have the misfortune to be at a buffet (with endless choices), he is capable of finishing at the same time.  You also may want to make some extra room.  Matt has been known to bring to the table every sauce the restaurant offers for dipping, even combining some for new and fantastic creations.

After discussing Matt’s endless entertainment value, we moved on.  He’s worth more still; this eternal Boy Scout is always prepared.  Marie Fawcett and Jenny (Ruff) Erickson reminded us of the items he has always carried bulging in pockets, or slung over his shoulder in a backpack.  Need a rubber band?  Check his wrist.  A safety pin?  You can find one in the waistband of his pants.  He even usually has a tool that can do the trick for breaking into your car if you get locked out.  Don’t worry, Matt.  No one here will share that information with Williamson County law enforcement.   

Now something must be said about one item in Matt’s collection: his comb.  Jamie didn’t think we should make fun of his baldness, but we couldn’t avoid a little ribbing about the importance of that wild hair in his youth.   We came to the consensus that he spent more time on that hair in the years he had it than he now has left to live.  Besides, while he doesn’t carry his comb in his back pocket anymore, he still pays plenty of attention to each of the dwindling strands in his possession (sometimes with the brush he often keeps in his glove box).  We hear his family is often waiting outside the car while Matt gives himself a last once over in the mirror or the car window to be sure he feels presentable. 

The only thing we couldn’t understand:  with all that gear, and all that attention to detail, why was his shirt missing in so many of the photos we saw?  We have to admit he didn’t look all that prepared half-naked in the snow when we looked over the skiing photos.  (Now Matt wants me to add here that he didn’t “look” half bad, either- he was quite cut, you know.)

Matt fell short of being prepared more than once.  For example, we couldn’t leave out the tale of his Eagle Scout project.  He may be our eternal Boy Scout, but the project that got Matt his Eagle may be the only one that brought as much harm as benefit to his community.  Completed just weeks before his eighteenth birthday, the project to clear land for the city was planned pretty quickly.  It had a great turnout, first to the project, where volunteers helped pull down vine after vine, and later to doctors and hospitals, where cases of poison ivy were so severe they required medical attention.  If Russ Orton had been able to attend, I think we would have heard him say, “Yeah, thanks a lot, Matt.  Where’s that park now, anyway?”  Matt’s favorite phrase, “play it by ear,” caught up to him a little that time. 

All in all, we do think it pays off to have Matt around.  We’re looking forward to his follies in the next 30 yrs.

Now if you would like to add to all these tales, please do!  Comment here, and we’ll moderate from our end.  We only ask that you be kind.  After all, we want Matt to keep up the good work.

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