It all started with a cat.
That's my friend Ginger standing (leaning?) next to me. We met on the internet some 8 or 9 years ago, but not until 2004 did we finally meet in person. One day, she posted some photos of a tiny kitten that her husband found in a parking lot.... abandoned, still with its umbilical cord attached. They nursed Baby Kitty with an eye dropper, but didn't want to keep her forever. It just so happened that at that moment, we were getting ready to close on our first house, and we'd been promising Dani a cat for years. "When we buy our own house, you can have one," we'd always said. I emailed Ginger, who lives 4 hours away in San Antonio. We worked out a plan, and before we knew it, we were co-cat-parents. We continued the bottle feeding, fell madly in love with our first pet, and decided that we're cat people. We call her "Ashlie" because of her gray color; her middle name is Ginger's last name. When Ashlie cat-yacks on the family room floor and I'm cleaning up yet another hairball, I often threaten to send her back to her first Mommy. (That would be JAMES, though, not Ginger. LOL!)
I remember well the first time we met James and Ginger in person. They walked in to our front room, and the guys immediately started talking about architecture and house stuff as if they were picking up a conversation they hadn't gotten to finish before. Ginger and I hugged as if we hadn't seen each other in a long time. (Ha! We'd seen each other NEVER!) When they left, Darren, who has an uncanny ability to size people up with amazing accuracy upon first meeting, said, "I like them. They're good people."
And so they are. In the three years we've known them, we've managed to see each other on a sorta regular basis, even though our homes are 4 hours apart. Ginger and I have marathon phone conversations at least once a week, sometimes more. We see each other online everyday. We share a common faith, similar parenting philosophies, the same wacky sense of humor, and scrapbooking. We even share friends now! She knows my IRL (in real life) friends, and I know hers. And the cool thing? My IRL friends adore her too. :) She is one of my closest friends, and it's true when I say that I thank God for her.
"Yes'm, old friends is always best, 'less you can catch a new one that's fit to make an old one out of." (Sarah Orne Jewett) Ginger's one of the latter. :)
She'll be embarrassed by this post. She's probably wiping a tear away right now 'cause quotes always get to her. If she doesn't eat something soon, she'll get cranky. When she eats, it'll likely have cilantro on it. She doesn't pay attention to the cash register screen when she's paying for groceries. She can tell I'm having an off day even when I think I'm hiding it well, and she's not afraid to ask why. She gives honest, thoughtful answers, and doesn't expect any less of her friends. She laughs loud and often. She loves 80s "new wave" music. She hates 70s sappy story songs. She leaves sweet notes on her daughter's bedroom bulletin board. She loves stray kittens as long as she doesnt' have to keep them. She's selfless with her time, and generous with her friendships. She's nosy, but not gossipy. She's beautiful, but not caught up in beauty. She's funny as all get out, and she doesn't even realize it most of the time. She's says "HEY!" when you answer the phone, and she says "Um." Just "Um." A lot. In the middle of a conversation, she just stops and says "Um."... and then carries on with whatever she was saying. I love that about her. It's just so.... Ginger! Love her love her LOVE her. So glad to call her my friend. So glad to be blessed with the opportunity to create a page for her friendship album (presented to her by her best friend at her 40th birthday party on Friday night.) So glad James found that cat in the middle of a parking lot on a rainy night in San Antonio... and that Ginger posted the photos... and that I emailed her about it...
... and the rest, as they say, is history.
(click to enlarge)