Happy Valley, OR —

Thirty-six-year-old Trent Shores takes his place in front of his propane grill and carries out a tradition going back to his mid-twenties. You see, on August 4th, 2008, Trent lost one of his best bros in a tragic jet ski accident.

“Man, you never think something like that is gonna happen to you,” Shores shared. “One minute, we were shotgunning Coors Light, then the next thing you know, Conner tries to do a backflip, and his neck ends up all bent to one side. It can literally happen to anyone, man.”

Shores takes a deep breath as he meticulously places asparagus spears on the hot grill. “Conner isn’t the only friend I’ve lost, but losing him just hit harder. He’s the kind of guy who would give you the visor right off his head. That’s why I’m honoring him tonight by dropping an asparagus through the grill.”

Tears well up in Shores’ eyes. It’s hard to tell if he’s overcome by emotion at the loss of his dear friend, or if the smoke from the grill is starting to get to him. Somberly, Trent uses tongs to retrieve the cooked asparagus from the grill, pausing at the final spear.

“This one is for you, Conner. Fly high.”

Shores gently nudges the vegetable into the fiery bowls of his Weber.

By CarolAnn Liebelt