August 10, 2013 by Last Star blog
Life’s Best Surprises…good friends
Who says there is no karma? What a day, yesterday was. We were invited up to Chapel Hill to visit some of our closest and dearest friends for a mini-reunion from our very earliest Air Force days. Fabulous, we are 100% in, just need a rental car. We called our favorite rental agency, Enterprise, for a 10:00 am pickup at the marina. No worries, should be in Chapel Hill for lunch, with a quick stop at Seymour Johnson AFB to hit the commissary and base class VI (liquor store). Well…. first Willie (the Enterprise driver) calls with the standard 10 minute delay update. After 30 minutes, he calls again, he is lost. Great, what do you mean lost? They had given him a wrong address in Wilmington not Carolina Beach. Grrr…another 30 minutes. So, there we sit in the shade with our cart full of cat litter, luggage and the cats…of course. Willie shows at the one hour late mark…finally, we are on our way. No sooner do we pull away from the marina my phone rings. Unknown caller, jeesh, what now? “Hello?” “Patreeshaaa” OMG! I recognize that Greek accent…ANNA!!! My dear, wonderful, funny, sweet, amazing friend Anna from Greece. We have been friends since Cole and her son Trent were in Kindergarten together, and Alek and her daughter Dia were in the same class… oh, a million years ago! Every time I have gone through Goldsboro I have tried to surprise her, but I have missed her. One year she was in Greece and last time, she had gone back to work. We used to have Greek coffee EVERY morning together and talk for hours and the boys were inseparable. Now of course, Alek and Dia are graduates and Cole and Trent are in college. Where does the time go??? “Listen” (her signature line) “where are you? I am at the boat…” Surprise!! “OMG, I JUST left the boat and am headed to the Enterprise office in Wilmington…” “Wait there, I am headed that way.” I was soooo excited to see her. She pulls up and gets out of her gorgeous car and she looks EXACTLY the same…12 years have passed. We both start laughing hysterically. In her, as always, generous nature, she has brought us groceries! REAL treats for us and even for Mini & Cooper. “How in the world did you find us!?” Anna has been quietly following the blog and our adventures and when she saw we were in Wilmington she drove down from Goldsboro to see us. Her son goes to school in Wilmington and she was going to stop at his apartment and saw a great opportunity to surprise us. Going on nothing but some vague idea of where we were she found the boat and our phone number on the for sale sign on the boat. Can you believe it? She was carting around 6 bags of groceries, a plant, and cat toys!! Anna has always been one of the greatest people I have had the privilege to call a friend. When we moved from Goldsboro we stayed with them and I was really crushed to say goodbye to our three years of daily fabulous Greek coffee. So, there we sat in the Enterprise office catching up and looking at pictures and laughing hysterically. If Willie had not been an hour late we would have missed each other! I had planned on trying to surprise her after Cole left in 10 days…and said as much, she is most likely going to be in Greece so I would have missed her AGAIN! Fortuitous fortune, you are my best friend today. It was a gift of rare joy to sit and talk to her, laugh with her, as if the last time I saw her was yesterday. She knew everything about our year because she has been following the blog. I had sent her a link when we started but we have no idea who follows and who doesn’t unless they make a comment. Hank and I were thrilled, just thrilled, to see her. It was the best thing to happen to us in a very long time, THANK YOU, ANNA!
The rest of the trip north was a little bumpy. When we finally got to the base…Hank’s ID was ‘terminated’ and mine too. Usually, when you retire from the Air Force you go in and get a ‘retired’ ID on the day you are actively retired…but we were in the Bahamas on that day having a Kalik with the boys! Pass and ID was the next stop to try and get a pass to get on base. Well, there was a long line, they wanted Hank’s driver’s license, the rental agreement..and we would have to get new ID’s… that was not going to happen as we still had a grocery stop to make and a liquor store to hit. Oh, and by now our show time in Chapel Hill was long past lunch and fast approaching happy hour. You know, that is a hard limit for Hank…we could not be late for happy hour! We left the base without getting on, hit the brand new Harris Teeter Anna had told us about, found an ABC store and arrived at our friends GORGEOUS huge new house just in time for happy hour. What a day!!! I have to say, I am still smiling thinking of my gracious, funny friend Anna laughing as she exits her car. What a wonderful gift. We all have friends we call ‘shovel’ friends and ‘jail’ friends. You know, the ones you call to bring the shovel to dig the grave and help hide the body and the ones you call to bail you out of jail. I have known from the first day I met Anna, she was one of those people. We are blessed because the friends we are seeing this weekend…they too are those kind of people. The kind of friends who stand up at your wedding, keep your kids, bail you out of hot water, and laugh with you about it all for years and years to come. You will see them in the next post..if they agree to the exposure! Hank & I are indeed truly and wonderfully lucky.
Here are the cats in the rental car watching the world go by.