So I didn’t know my friend, Carol, in high school at all. Our paths – as far as I know – never crossed. I don’t recall seeing her at any of our many reunions. (And if you are a DC girl, you know how we love both our regular and mini-reunions. Because we can’t wait 5 years after a reunion to see each other again). The first time I saw her was at one of her mini-reunions at the great Brendan’s restaurant near Penn Station (which always serves great food and always lets us stay as long as we like to gossip and gab and reminisce). She introduced herself to me and we sat across from each other at the table for brunch.
We started seeing each other more often as we did these reunions and then spent a lot of time together at the last big reunion. We began keeping in touch on a more regular basis and, at least for me, I found a true kindred spirit in Carol. She is a great and devoted wife, mother and grandmother and knows that what matters most is family. She is a hard worker and loyal to a fault. She offers advice when asked, comfort when needed, conversation when you just have to talk it out and an ability to get to (as the great Don Henley sings) the heart of the matter.
Over the last few years we’ve started taking road trips a few times a year down to our favorite beach, Point Pleasant, and starting our day there at the great Plethora Boutique I wrote about recently (and where we are always greeted like long-lost family members). We then head back towards the beach and hit up all the local businesses on the main drag ranging from antique furniture stores, to consignment shops, to boutiques that carry candles and clothes and jewelry and lotions and potions galore. We end up at the spectacular Prime 13 restaurant where we have to book a reservation months in advance to get into this tiny dining gem to savor what may be the best steak dinner I’ve ever had.
When I was dragged into someone else’s unhappiness a few years ago, Carol was the first person to come to my defense and stand up for me. When I struggled with something last year, Carol was the person who rallied people to support me. When Christmas was sneaking up on me and all I wanted to do was avoid it, she was my personal Christmas Carol. When I need to bounce an idea off someone, she is my go to person. When I want to vent about something, whether great or totally inane, she listens and commiserates. If any of our DC girls needed anything, she’d be the person who would be first in line to help. Her heart is (as Buddy the Elf would say) ginormous, her compassion endless, her loyalty unwavering.
I have been blessed many times over with more love and friendships than I could hope for. But I have been truly blessed to have Carol in my life. I don’t know if I can ever thank her enough for what she has given to and done for me but I hope this little blog will be a good start. She is more than just my friend. She is a part of my family, forever.