Karen is not my oldest friend age wise, but she is my oldest friend...we met in 1986, my freshman year of high school, her junior year...I'm not even sure how we met or why we started talking....I think it was because I somehow made the varsity basketball team (which by the way I had no business being on)and she may have drawn the short stick and ended up sitting next to me one day.
Next thing I know, I'm friends with the star of the basketball team and for the next two years, laughed as I had never laughed and learned what it meant to be friends with someone.....to have someone to confide in, to trust, to go through teen angst with....to have someone who would not make fun of you no matter how bad you were at something...wait, she would laugh at me but I'm pretty sure it was out of love not malice...
She graduated and left me behind....I was friendless and no one found me as funny as she did
Finally, I went off to college, she was at college, she graduated, moved away, I graduated, moved away...we lost touch for awhile, we got back in touch, we lost touch, we got back in touch...you know how it goes. I actually always knew how she was or where she was because I kept in touch with her Mum....then she stopped by to visit me as she was driving back to Boston...jokingly said hey, I need a roommate, want to move back east.....one of the best things she ever did for me. Turned out we're better friends than roommates.....but still the best thing she ever did for me!
Anyway, that was many years ago and much has changed....I got married and had a baby, she took up curling........
She's still my friend who today is turning 40....one of the few people to embrace something that so many others fight with every inch of their being.....in typical Karen Fashion!
So here is my Birthday tribute to you my Friend:
The 40 most wonderful things about Karen:
1. She hung out with me when I was a lowly old Freshman in high school
2. She shared my love of Pee Wee
3. She wore two different colored Chucks with me
4. The “band” trip to Boston in high school (she faked her death off the wall in front of the Aquarium….total blast)
5. Hours of playing Uno…which sounds boring when its only two people but somehow, we had way more fun than we should have
6. She introduced me to the Beatles
7. She introduced me to the Monkees
8. Maine Hockey Games….I’m sorry Ma’am (or was it a Sir?), could I get my nachos out of your hood?
9. She didn’t make fun of me when I got the lead in the School Play which was a musical…and I couldn’t sing!
10. She didn’t make fun of me when I forget to enter Stage Right for one of my big scenes
11. She hit me in the knee with a golf ball, really hard, but helped me up…after she laughed at me
12. “Hey Maria, I think he works for Sports Illustrated, go ask him!” “OK Karen…”
13. “Hey Maria, there’s a cop, go ask him for some Kids and Cops DARE cards…” “OK Karen….”
14. Really, anything that started out with “hey Maria….” And ending with me saying "OK Karen…”
15. She pushed me out of a moving car….which then ran over me…but again, picked me up after she stopped laughing
16. She hit me with a softball, really hard……and laughed as hard as I did
17. She was always good to my younger sisters
18. She got me to take a writing class
19. She wrote her college essay about our friendship….
20. She took me camping with she and her family
21. You can call me Al
22. She got me drunk for the first time when she was in College, I was still in High School….rode back to Maine with her parents hung over
23. She took me to see Huey Lewis and The News
24. She took me to see The Hooters (actually, I may be a bit bitter about that one)
25. She came to visit me my freshman year in college and encouraged me to stay even though I was miserable and hated it
26. Her laugh makes me laugh
27. She shared her family with me
28. Chunky Monkey
29. Dirk Smith
30. She introduced me to Flannery O’Connor
31. She drove all night to attend the 2004 World Series Parade with me (I had to do her laundry when she arrived but we were there!)
32. We got hooked on the West Wing together
34. She got me to move to Boston
35. She gave me confidence I needed….she didn’t even know I needed it but she gave it to me
36. She gave me Red Sox Monopoly for Christmas
37. She let me watch 90210 the morning of my wedding…course she made me miss the last 20 minutes because “you have to get dressed for your wedding….” Blah blah blah…it was a good one too….when Kelly was trapped in the bathroom during the fire…
38. She’s been my friend longer than anyone ever has
39. She gave the best toast at our wedding
And the 40th great thing about Karen:
40. She is now, and will always be, older than me!!!!!
Happy Birthday Old Friend!!!!!
Irish Birthday Blessing:
May you live a long life
Full of gladness and health
With a pocket full of gold
As the least of your wealth
May the dreams you hold dearest
Be those which come true
May the kindness you spread,
Keep returning to you.