Once upon a time, I had a real friend named Kevin. He’s a pretty cool guy. After many years of not seeing each other, we became virtual friends. In fact, he has just returned from a Facebook sabbatical. I get to see his face in a couple of weeks and finally meet his famously (at least among my circle) awesome wife, which got me to thinking about how we met… which in turn got me thinking about how I met several people… which in turn made me decide to turn my memories into a semi-entertaining post (at least for those of us who lived them).
Kevin. We’ll start with Kevin, seeing as he was the instigator. It was a bit of a fateful meeting, but we won’t get into all of that. I had chosen, along with one of my best friends from high school, to attend a small Southern Baptist university near to home. At the time, the idea of living together for four years at the same place where we attended summer camp seemed brilliant. We were a bit delusional, but we were young and impressionable and would eventually learn to make wiser decisions. After surviving our freshman year, we had decided to move in with another friend for sophomore year, shoving all three beds into one room and using her solo room as a living room. In hindsight, overcrowding was probably yet another lapse in good judgment, but again I digress. So, one night we’re hanging out in the near empty student center, I believe with the goal of studying. Instead, we were engaged in a rousing game of “Remember When…” For those of you unfamiliar with the game, which I’m quite sure we didn’t make up on our own, it’s basically where you ask someone if they “remember when” you or they did something you or they are currently or considering doing. For instance, I would say, “Hey, remember when we went to the Student Center to study, but instead we just wasted a whole lotta time?” And she would laugh, and then reply, “Remember when you suggested we study, and I laughed at you?” As she was falling off of the cushion we were sitting on, I would respond “Remember when you fell on your butt ‘cause you were laughing so hard, and I didn’t even help you off the ground?” On and on it would go… we were easily entertained. We were having such a good time, we failed to notice that there were, indeed, a few other people around. One in particular, a skinny freshman boy with long, thin hair, appeared to find our little game amusing, and approached us to make introductions and join in the fun. And that, my friends, is how I met Kevin Still.
Ines. Ines just so happens to be one of my favorite people in the universe, so she’s a very lucky girl. I had been visiting Mosaic on Sunday evenings for awhile, and still attending my home church in the mornings. When our pastor of umpteen years announced his looming retirement, I suddenly found myself wanting to be there on Sunday nights, so I missed a few weeks at Mosaic. In the meantime, they had hired some girl from Tejas to interpret the services in Spanish. Supposedly, she was pretty cool. So, Gretchen and I were headed over to Angelika & Cari’s house to join Angelika, Philip (always the lone male), some girls from India and this new chica for an evening at Electric Cowboy. If ever there was a group that should have found something to do other than Electric Cowboy, it was us. But I like the fact that I first met Ines in the living room of the Taylor St. house on the way to a bar, rather than in the actual worship service. After she FINALLY finished studying so hard, we became even better friends – but I will never forget that first encounter.
Ramon. …or Josh. It’s kind of a chicken-and-egg scenario. Whoever came first, I met through Rob. It was actually a generic Sunday afternoon, and we were having our monthly community meal at church. I can’t remember if I met Josh first or Ramon first, but I ended up at a table with both of them, and one introduced me to the other. By the end of the meal we had concocted a plan to form a “Christian Artists Guild” in Little Rock. We actually had a few follow up meetings with other folks and worked at drafting mission statements and such. It soon fell by the wayside, but at least formed a foundation for a lasting friendship. I can't imagine not knowing Ramon, so the circumstances of our meeting seem almost inconsequential.
Gretchen. A tall, pale girl walks into a rush party and says… well, I don’t remember what she said, but it was likely odd. Or perhaps she was in Ginger mode, in which case she would have presented as a proper Southern lady fit for polite society. I remember that she was only there because her friend was going through rush and wanted her company. Somehow Gretchen survived all three nights of parties and invitations without running for sanity, and even went so far as to accept a Tri Chi bid. I think someone spiked her punch. Every member gave pledge week “duties” to an assigned number of pledges. Gretchen was one of those assigned to me. Her duty was to make a “Top Ten Reasons Why Al Gore Will Make a Great President” poster and deliver it to my dear friend Aaron Black (aka, Mr. Republican). I was in love with Al Gore. I had a framed picture of him in my dorm room which was attacked on a regular basis. She refused my duty. With a straight face, I consistently reminded her that she had to fulfill her duty for pledge week. With a straight face, she consistently refused to submit to my obvious authority. She thought I hated her. I thought she was hilarious. It’s been love ever since…
Pollacks. I had the pleasure of spending this weekend with the prettiest Pollack child, and Lizzie and I were discussing who in the family I knew first. Kathy wins that award. Mosaic had a women’s shopping trip planned for Memphis. I was planning to be in Memphis that weekend, but not to shop. I had a ticket to see Nanci Griffith and the Chieftains at Shelby Farms. A dream concert if there ever was one. A few days before the show, my car broke down. Not possessing the fortitude of many a great get-to-the-show-come-hell-or-high-water movies, I wept. Then I decided to join Ines & Sarah for the women’s outing. So close, yet so far away. Us “young girls” had a blast laughing in our room & venturing out to see “Legally Blonde 2”. Somehow I woke up early, so I went downstairs to drink coffee and read in the lobby. Kathy came downstairs with someone else, and I sat with them for a while and talked with Kathy. I was smitten. She was my new friend. I either met Kendall or Jason next – I taught Kendall in Sunday school (actually, we spent more time sitting outside the class & talking about Lord of the Rings, but that counts in my book) and I met Jason through our Tuesday Evening Dinners ™. Eventually, Kathy introduced me to her sons Marty & Brad. I’m not sure at what point I met Allen. Liz & Thomas came last, but certainly not least. Not one to play favorites, I’ll just say I love them all the same, just different.
I suppose that’s enough stories for now. I’m sure there are plenty more. And then there are those who I can’t recall formally meeting, but with whom I have plenty of other fabulous memories. For instance, Angelika, Meredith, each and every one of my roommates…