Carol Jane Remsburg
Kathy came home last weekend for a visit. I hadn't seen her in nearly six years. She was a lady that I had worked with long ago for a few years and we had hit it off tremendously. Kathy was and is a true friend. Sometimes I believe we don't recognize or appreciate true friends until they aren't in your everyday world anymore.
There were previous visits over the last ten years, tons of letters that tapered off, joke emails, and a few phone calls. Unfortunately that's how it works once your best friend in the world is no longer in your immediate sphere. It makes me wonder how others manage it. But Kathy always does.
Back in the day, each work day was a joy not just because I enjoyed my work, but because Kathy was able to introduce me into the security side of banking, fraud and such. It was great fund tracking down and blowing away the cover of those who would steal. More than that, Kathy was simply fun to be around. She is bright, beautiful, funny, and lives every moment of the day. For someone like me, that's astounding. Kathy is likely the most alive person I've ever met or known. For her to count me as a friend, well, that's special indeed.
Still, last week she crossed the 'great divide', no not the mountains just the Chesapeake Bay from the Western Shore of MD to the Eastern Shore. I had made all ready for her and anxiously awaited her arrival. My young daughter had memories of her and was anxious to renew them. We waited.
Finally, about 8:30 PM on Friday night Kathy rolled up to the house. We had so much to talk about and many things to share. So much had passed in six years that couldn't be expressed on the phone or via email or letters. We were ready to party!
And so we proceeded to, just after the grand tour of the renovations, Erin's entreaties, a quick "hello" to hubby before we settled into the kitchen for some cold brews and some very hot wings and such . . .
Initially we did the norm, we had gifts to exchange that we'd held for a while, I got to see pix of her daughter's wedding, and Erin blustered in and made Kathy play Pokemon marbles with her. Kathy never minded, Kathy was open to all. The night was so full of ourselves that the rest of the world was somewhere else. Later after Erin was abed, we laughed, we talked about stupid stuff, important stuff, and shared all that was important. We nibbled some hotwings with the requisite blue cheese dressing and chilled celery hearts, and we talked some more. Later we got silly and played on the computer in chat rooms. Kathy has a computer for work but not one at home so I was able to expose her, rather corrupt her, into another venue of fun and adventure.
It became late. Still we laughed and we talked and played at being 'bad.' We are fortunate that neither really has a bad bone between us. Somehow it got to be 4 AM. I don’t know how that happened but we were up and both of us were weary. Neither of us were twenty anymore and the lateness of the hour hit us hard. It was time for bed. I was glad I had made up her bed earlier and all was ready. We fell into bed knowing that the next day would be another of rushed fellowship—this time with Erin leading the way.
I awoke to a poking sensation on my cheek. I knew exactly who and what it was—it was Erin of course. She is never down nor asleep long. I accepted my 2 ¾ hours worth of sleep as my due. However, Kathy needed more. She got up around 10. Hubby was long gone by 7 AM. Somehow I know we had kept him up late and he wasn't quite so pleased.
I worked the coffee just to become coherent. Had this been fifteen years ago it would have been easier. I can't manage a 4 AM late night without maybe a month's recovery. Kathy bounced up and was game to run. Yeah, we ran, all the way to Ocean City. It was a glorious warm March Saturday. Erin took precautions with bathing suits and towels. She just didn't have a clue to how cold that ocean water would be.
Miles of boardwalk we walked. Food we ate, games were played, and rides were ridden. Then there was a sudden run to the water. Kathy ran right into it and so did Erin. Being the resident weenie, I held back. Our last foray, in January of 1995 ( I believe) the temps were about 70 and the water definitely warmer than this March tide—that's when I had to rescue a 5 year-old collecting shells from the pounding surf that threatened to take her out . . .
That last time, all three of us were doused in not only the sea spray but the rolling surf. Before that we'd explored the avant-garde artist's shops for the best of the cheap good stuff among the winding narrow stairs. We'd gorged ourselves on Thrasher's fries, Dumpster's ice cream, and fed the gulls with our leavings. This time we did it all, not just the fries and cones, we rode some rides, shopped, did a dire but finally fruitful search for hermit crabs AND STILL managed an ocean foray.
Not only that, we also garnered wheels for the boardwalk. Kathy and I got a dual surrey vehicle while Erin got a 3-wheeler and took off for parts unknown. It was amazing to watch.
The kites flew, the throngs were busy, shoppers shopped, and above it all the gulls screamed and the surf crashed. In the background the lighthouse sounded it's inevitable drone, lonely and long. If this hadn't been an OC adventure it would have sounded lonely.
Finally, Kathy and I both ran out of energy that Erin still had an abundant supply of. We escaped.
We drove home, grabbed instant dinner from a drive-thru and headed home. Once there, animals were fed and we began our watch over the newest additions to the family—two hermit crabs. With elbows on the table, Kathy and I leaned and rested. It would be a while before either of us could gracefully take our leave and fall into a comatose sleep. Erin was busy with the chatter as we watched the crabs. We were witness to a shell-changing. We shared one drink after our half-hearted attempts at dinner and stayed up just long enough not to be considered light-weights before escaping into sleep.
That type of thing takes a week to recover from.
I reminded Kathy that we weren't 20 anymore. She smiled and laughed. Somehow she made it not just for herself but for me the transition from 40-something back to 20-something. It won't be repeated in this decade, unless she does it and only she can do that.
It's wonderful when friends come home. They love you for you and yours and sit down in your home as if it were theirs. They realize the welcome and the warmth of those four walls and feel safe. From that point on, life is good. It's the sharing and the laughter that make it all worth while.
Kathy, honey, I love you. I'll see you soon!!!!