Wednesday, June 27, 2012

She's an Original

"What?!  You don't get Easter Egg hunts anymore?!!"  Riled my indignant semi-new best friend.

"Erin, we're 17 years old!"

"So what?!  I can't believe you don't get Easter Egg hunts."  She huffed.

Sure enough, later on that week, she gave me my very own Easter Egg hunt complete with loads of chocolate and a Cosmopolitan magazine.

This was just the tip of the iceburg of the extraordinarily thoughtful and generous nature my best friend was graced with.


We stood in line at the Taco Bell many months later.  There was a group of young kids in line ahead of us.  It seemed that they were with an adult but paying with their own money.  One young boy stood out - he didn't order anything.  There was something in the way he held himself, in the expression on his face that pulled at my heartstrings.

"Did you want some fries?"  Erin was up next in line and that little boy stood a couple feet away from her.  Though I don't remember if we shared our thoughts aloud to each other, our thoughts were on the same wave length.  She was offering to buy this hungry little boy something to eat.


5 years later...

It was raining as we drove along in her sapphire blue Sunfire, Grover.  As we took the off ramp we passed an older gentleman, standing on the side of the road, thumb out, indicating he needed a lift somewhere.  It was obvious he was homeless.

"We should go back.....I'm going back to get him."

I was uneasy.  I'm the type of person whose heart goes soft when I see people living in the streets.  Young, old.  It doesn't matter.  For there's always a reason behind why...there's always a story....a story that rarely ends with a fairly tale ending.  I almost always give change or purchase something for them to eat nearby.  (It's a good thing thing I don't live in a highly populated area of vagrants.)

But to pick up a hitch hiking homeless man?  Never.  I would never.  But that day with my best friend who's heart is a big as the sky?  We did.

We stopped at a drive through and she bought him and burger and a coffee.  As we drove she chatted with him while he hungrily inhaled his hamburger, asking questions about his life, where he was from, where was he going.  I stayed quiet, almost mute-like trying hard not to breathe in through my nose for the stench of his unshowered body and damp unwashed clothes mingled with the raw onions on the burger kept wafting up to the front seat.  As I sat trying not to breathe, I marveled at her open curiosity, adventurous spirit and huge heart...(and that she was breathing openly).  The way she asked her questions would not be considered prying but simply inquisitive and interested in what he had to say. He said he had just visited with his children and had walked on foot from a city over 200 km away.  I wondered why his kids didn't help him.  Perhaps there were many reasons. I realize that that I'm older and just a teeny bit wiser to the world.

We dropped him off again not too many miles later at his request.

That day, without her knowing, she opened my eyes a lot wider to the world.


A couple years ago when her husband and her first began dating, they were caught in a huge snow storm - recall 'Snowmageddon? - leaving them stranded at a hotel.  I don't know about you but I'd be making the best out of that situation by chilling out, feet up in my hotel room sipping on some Bailey's spiked hot chocolate with my significant other.  But not Erin.  The way she makes the best out of a situation is evidently far different mine.  She basically risked her LIFE going out and getting food for some truckers staying at the hotel. It was late, everything was closed, they were hungry and their trucks couldn't get through the drive through.   And how did she know these random trucker guys were hungry?  Erin?  As mentioned above, will talk to anybody and will know more about them in a short period of time than they probably even knew about themselves.


She's done so many more amazing things for people over the years I've known her.  As small as listening to someone who may not have anyone to talk to, to thoughtful gifts, to flying me out to see her across the country (she's done that a few times), to volunteering her time for a job that's worth much, much more than nothing, to being a mentor, to fighting to get someone's job back, to being the best daughter, sister, friend and wife one could ever wish for.  I simply don't  have the time or space to write about all of them here.  And I know there are many more instances of her philanthropy that I have no idea about.

Because of Erin?  The world is a better place.  I truly believe that.

She's been the bestest best friend I could ever ask for.  She is my biggest inspiration, someone I look up to, admire, and love with all my heart.

She's given me advice, adventures and unconditional love for over half my life.

And on this day, her 34th birthday, I'd like to say a big thank you to her.

You are an original, baby.

Cheers to your 34th my dear friend.
You just become more fabulous as the years go by.


Mel said...

What an absolutely lovely person your friend sounds like. No wonder you've stayed close all these years.

paradigmjohn said...

Beautifully written honey and a wonderful, thoughtful, inspirational follow up to your "Happy Birthday Soul Sister" (which everyone should read!!).

I think anyone who reads this will wish they had a little more nerve to do what Erin has so little trouble doing. She will simply pick someone / anyone out of the blue, spark up a conversation and eventually make them feel better about themselves just because she was willing to ask, listen, care. To Erin, no one is invisible.

You are both amazing women and lucky to have each other in your lives.

Happy birthday Erin!

Love you both.

Kristin said...

This is just gorgeous love from one best friend to another. How wonderful it is to have friendships that truly grow and nurture one another over the years.
Happy Birthday Erin.
As January says, YOU are an original!

The Mommy Therapy said...

Your friend sounds amazing and definitely like an inspiration. I often wish I could be more like that, taking the chance on the homeless man in my car rather than assuming he's going to stab me. So glad you have a friend like that, and that there are still people that kind and generous in the world!

Kristi said...

I absolutely love this tribute to your friend! Through your words about her you have BOTH inspired me to keep my eyes and heart open to whoever may walking through my life that day.
I love this...and I'm sure you're friend does too!!

Emily said...

Wow, what an incredible tribute! She sounds like such a joy to know, such an inspiration.

Happy Birthday, Erin!