First of all, let me just say that I’ve never written on anyone’s blog except my own and, well…it feels a bit strange. But don’t worry–I’ll get over it because, you see, meeting Loralee for the first time felt like meeting up with a very good and very old friend.
I’d like to break this down into the smallest possible pieces, but sometimes it’s hard to know when, exactly, a friendship begins.
So where should I start? The first time I read her blog? The first time she made me laugh? The first time she made me cry? The first time I commented? Or when she left a comment for me? The first time we corresponded by e-mail? The first time we talked on the phone? The first time I saw her beautiful face in person?? So many firsts…how is it that I feel like I’ve known her forever?
I want to write about everything and I don’t want to leave a single detail out. But it’s impossible. I want to write about hearing her voice on the phone and how it was exactly as I imagined it–her intonations, her energy, her LORALEE-ness. I want to write about how easy our words and our laughter came and how hard it was to actually hang. up. the. phone. ha! Amazing. And I don’t even normally like talking on the phone! Really, I don’t quite remember ever being so excited to meet someone. And talking on the phone only made it worse!
Ok…but wait a minute…what I really want to tell you about is what it was like to meet Loralee for the first time in the flesh and blood. I mean, even the memory makes me smile. There I was, sitting in my car expecting her to drive in from behind where I was parked when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of LORALEE RUNNING! !!!!!!!!!!OMG!!!!!!!!!! (eh-hem…sorry…). Yes, just the barest glimpse of her and I knew…THAT’S HER!!!!! :) My brain made all the necessary connections in less than a millisecond and I found myself clamoring to get OUT of the car so I could just HUG her!!! We hug once, we hug twice, maybe three times, and then we’re talking like we have a whole lifetime’s worth of words to get out. Mind you, IT IS NOT EVERYDAY THAT YOU MEET SOMEONE FOR THE FIRST TIME AND THIS HAPPENS.
I want to write about driving from one side of the city to the other and laughing so hard that I could hardly breath, swallowing so much air that little gas bubbles formed in my throat, half strangled in my own hooting and guffawing while Loralee sat in the passenger seat next to me SNORTING! And poor Jonathan following in the car behind us all by his tired lonesome self–and have I mentioned what a really incredible guy he is?! It’s true! And so we drove and talked and laughed and talked and drove and laughed and, to be honest, I’m amazed (all things considered) that we actually made it to our destination!
But we did…and at the Thai restaurant where we planned to meet up with other Bemidji folk I witnessed, first hand, the way Loralee and Jonathan are able to bring out the best in people. I mean, the waiter all but pulled up a chair to sit down with us!! The thing about Loralee is that she makes people SMILE. She lights up a room. Literally. I mean, is Minnesota really that friendly? Or does she just bring it out in people? Umm…that’s a rhetorical question (the answer is obvious…).
The thing is that many of you already know this about her. You are her friends and her family. Those of you who are lucky enough to be with her on a regular basis, well…I’m jealous!
And this is where my words start to get all muddled because I’m trying to tell you everything at once. and aaahhhhh! ok, ok, ok…
Let me just say that Loralee is an incredibly amazing woman. In the past 24 hours we have laughed together and cried together. We’ve drank coffee together (yes, coffee!!) and did our make-up together and talked our hearts out until the end of the universe and back again…and IT WENT BY TOO FAST!!!
I wanted this post to be eloquent. I wanted it to be powerful and moving and articulate. I wanted it to be as beautiful as the Minnesota sunshine after too many days of grey. I wanted it to be like sitting in the coffee shop, slurping whip-cream and pouring our hearts out. I wanted it to be like the kind of laughter that takes your breath away. I wanted it to be like listening to her sing. I wanted it to be lots of things. But, to be honest, I don’t know how. It’s not often that you come across a friendship that is so instantaneously mutual, so comfortable, so well-fitted. I don’t have the words to communicate the ease and naturalness I felt being in the company of Loralee.
I wanted this post to capture everything…but it hasn’t. Looking at Loralee for the first time was like looking at someone I’ve known forever.
Loralee asked me if I would write about what it was like to meet her. Well, let me just say: It. Was. Wonderful.
Lots of love to you, Loralee. I miss you already!