You know I've been getting into this whole blog thing, right? And the wonderful ladies over at Mailbox Moments are doing a link-up where we are to write a long over-due letter to a friend, telling them about a favorite memory. I love their blog and the whole concept of writing letters on a blog, so I wanted to participate. I've been trying to think of which friend to write to and what memory to share. And I kept coming back to you.
But what to share? I've already written about one of my all time favorite memories that includes you. But that isn't necessarily a memory about you. So, I thought more. Do I tell a college story? My 21st birthday jumped to mind. Should I go older, like Vegas or my wedding?
Then I thought on the word "long over-due". What is long over-due? And then I remembered that I owe you a birthday present. Yes, I left you a note on Facebook and I left you a voice mail, but I didn't even send a card in the mail this year. I know it is not required, but I should have done it. Acknowledging how important our friendship is to me is long over-due. So, please consider this your card and I will take you out for dinner in September.
I know a blog post is a long way from how we celebrated your birthday in 1997 (was that the year?). We both went home for the summer to work, you in Minnesota and me in the Detroit area. I worked the night shift as a typesetter for a publishing company. And the week your birthday rolled around, I had just been laid off. I called to wish you a happy birthday during the day before I headed into the office for my last night of work (a Thursday). You told me of your plan to go to Minneapolis for the weekend, to see our good friends who had graduated. I so wanted to be a part of your birthday event, but I had to work.
I hung up the phone, disappointed. Then I thought to myself, what is one last day of work? I called my boss and asked if they cared if I skipped my last day. They didn't. And so, I jumped in my old black cavalier and drove. I drove straight through from Detroit to your small home town in Minnesota (No Doze kept me awake and terribly jittery).
Your directions took me directly through downtown Chicago around 11:00pm, right when Lollapalooza let out. I was stuck in traffic forever. But, by the time the sun was coming up, I was at the Mississippi River. I got out of my car and just looked in awe. I had never been that far west before.
When I came to your town, I remember laughing to myself when I saw the sign said "Population 96" or something similarly small. I had wondered if they changed the sign each time you left for school or a baby was born.
Then, I came to your parents' house, said a quick hello (presumably showered, but I don't remember), and we were off to Minneapolis. At some point we picked up Toro.
The next thing I remember about that trip is driving in down town Minneapolis, totally getting lost. Toro and I sent you the wrong way down a one way street. Then we made it to our friend's house and her fiance met us in the lobby. He didn't recognize me at first and the look on his face when he realized I had come from Michigan is still ingrained in my head.
That night, the kitty cats attacked our feet as we tried to sleep on the couches. And the next day, we all had facials at some place in the Mall of America. We ate at Planet Hollywood. But what I most remember are the laughs and the good times. It was an amazing weekend. I loved every minute and never once have I regretted not showing up to my last day of work.
I know I didn't do anything quite as grand as driving from Detroit to Minnesota without sleep for this birthday of yours, but you still mean just as much to me. I miss you and look forward to our girls' weekend in September.
I'm supposed to attach a picture of us together. I couldn't find one of just the two of us. We will have to rectify that in September. For now, here is a picture of each of us from as close to summer 1997 as I could find (December 1995). And yes, these were taken with the orange camera!
If you'd like to link up a letter or see others, click below.