From there, I was off to visit my friends who'd invited me to their house for the occasion. The weather was gorgeous; a high of 62 and a low in the 50s without much wind. The kids were outside in the backyard throwing around a foamy football, and I even managed to throw it a little with them before my Prednisone-ravaged back insisted I sit back down. The funny part was that the only other adult outside with me the entire time was one of my friends who actually doesn't have any kids herself. So there we were, the two childless, single adults on informal babysitting duty. We laughed and had a lot of fun anyway.
I had seen that Walmart's Black Friday ad featured an assortment of $3.96 Blu-ray Discs and one of the pictured titles was Die Another Day so I hoped that portended other 007 titles at that price point. They opened at 8:00 tonight, so I left my friends around then. I got there to discover a parking situation comparable to the Kentucky State Fair, but without even the charade of anyone helping coordinate traffic. I found the display easily enough but the only two Bond titles were the aforementioned Die Another Day and Goldfinger. Sure enough, those are two of the very few Bond movies I already have on Blu-ray so that was a bust. I didn't see much else that appealed to me. I did try to find Brave for my niece ($8.96 advertised price for the Blu-ray + DVD combo pack) but those were long gone by the time I got inside the building.
So, empty-handed, I began sort of meandering around the place. I ran into my middle school music teacher, who had also been the pianist at the very first church I attended as a child. I always liked her. She has a daughter just a little older than me and we played together as tots. Later, we worked together in the late 90s at Cracker Barrel. I was in attendance at her wedding 8 September 2001. They honeymooned at Disney World, which was of course shut down in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. After the ceremony and the reception, I went back to the church with my friend's mom and aunt (who had been one of my high school English teachers, and I feel okay being honest here in my own blog that she was my favorite) to make sure the place was properly cleaned for the next morning's service. We discovered a candle had remained burning the whole night and dripped wax all over the floor. We spent about an hour or so just trying to clean up that mess.
These are all random memories, of course, but they make me smile to recall them all. There was one brief period where my friend and her now-husband had a rough patch. She was a huge Tim McGraw fan, and she made mention to me one night that her then-ex-boyfriend had taken her McGraw CDs in what was clearly a spiteful play. That upset me, so I went out and bought her every single CD in McGraw's discography at the time - including his eponymous debut album, which I learned she hadn't even owned! I could afford such generosity in those days. I miss having money.
Cut to earlier this year. I signed into Facebook one morning and discovered a message from her that she had been thinking about that incident and wanted to repay me, about 12 years later, and so she sent me an Amazon e-gift card! I had forgotten entirely about the whole thing until she had messaged me about it. I was very touched that she had remembered it. That she had also sent the Amazon e-gift card was nice, I won't lie, but it was secondary to the fact she had held onto that specific memory all this time. It was a testament that we do make an impact on others, even if we don't realize what that impact is.
Tonight, after I all but literally ran into my friend's mother and as I began wandering the jungle of Walmart, I found my friend. She was looking for her mom, but I knew only the general direction in which she had been moving when we had parted so we elected to find a (relatively) safe place in one of the main aisles to just stand and catch up, which was fun. She likes to laugh and I like making people laugh, so we've always gotten along great. She was one of my favorite coworkers partly because she would laugh at things I said or did that no one else quite realized were meant to be funny - like the time when I first started working there and she caught me talking to the leftover croutons as I was munching on them at the end of the night.
She and her husband just celebrated their eleventh wedding anniversary in September, they have some happy, healthy kids I couldn't be happier for them. If at any point you read this blog post thinking there was some kind of sumthin' sumthin' between us, I'm afraid I have to disappoint you. I won't say we're "just friends" because I hate that term. It suggests there's something inadequate about friendship, and if I've learned anything in my life - particularly throughout the last year - it's that if there's anything at all for which we should truly give thanks, it is friendship.
I have much to be thankful for, and I am.