13 July 2006

A Triple Header...

"Amtrack is a railroad of lies..." ~ Katie Parker, commenting on the fact that her train arrived 1 1/2 hours late Monday Evening.

Yes, she is still full of wisdom, utterly understated and can still make me laugh like no one else on the planet.

Of course, we were all overjoyed to see her! She was delivered from the train station courtesy of her two friends, Hilary and Chaundra, and then she was warmly embraced by her family. We didn't want to let go!

How does she look after spending two months in New York City? Absolutely fantastic. She is positively glowing. I don't quite know how to express it, but there is an unmistakable difference between the young lady I left May 17th, and this young lady who walked back into our house Monday Evening.

It's not like she's "grown up" because, truth be told, Katie was born "grown up". She's always been decades older than her physical age. She came out that way! However, the something that is different is a some sort of ambiance of contentment. Yes, I would say contentment and, dare I use the term, happy! Whatever is in the water in Manhattan, most obviously agrees with her. I have a feeling that, while it's obvious NYC is the place for her at this time, I think this new persona may have more to do with John than location, location, location. I base this on the fact that rare is a conversation where his name is not brought up...several times. And when she is not alluding to something John did, said or both, she is talking about how much she misses him. That's when you know she's about to make a phone call, or receive one. It's nearly reflexive. And of course, after the phone call, she immediately fires of the Mac Book and they chat. :-)

I love seeing her so happy. Seeing her happy makes me happy. She is nothing short of joyful!

Tuesday, she went to work with me and hung around the salon and even answered the phone a couple of times! Of course, everyone at work was thrilled to get their Katie fix. Vanessa and Marco were all smiles and hugs and kisses when they saw the kid. Her "best" friends have been calling, dropping by, picking her up for this, that and the other thing, but fortunately in between all that, we have had time to catch up ourselves. Every night this week we have found ourselves in my room, drinking tea until at least 2 or 3 AM, talking about who is who and what is what, where we are both literally and metaphorically and, of course, we discuss our dreams, hopes and wishes - for each other, as well as ourselves. We've had the best talks.

She reports that Wilmington hasn't really changed and that it's like it was the day she left which she finds comforting. She doesn't want it to change. She is drinking copious amounts of sweet tea, that nectar of the South, and she's pretty much smiling just about all the time.

Today I had an appointment to do an interview at UNC-W Cameron School of Business to report on their new Youth Entrepreneurship Program, and met some very talented professors, assistants and, best of all, kids...lots of kids, between the ages of 11 and 16 who were eagerly engaged in learning about what it takes to nurse a dream or passion from concept to realization! I was enthralled at the equal parts of dedication and attention, as well as fun, they brought to their task. This is the third year of the program and from where I stood, it looked highly successful.

I was accompanied by the beautiful Sarah Bon, editor of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, who stood in as my photographer and a fine job she did. I always enjoy Sarah's company and today was no exception. What a beautiful way to spend a sunny July morning, on a bucolic campus with interesting, brilliant and engaging people.

After I arrived back at work, we had a meeting and then I returned home where I hung out with Katie and then had a nice two hour swim in the late afternoon sun. In between turning flips, I read and almost went to sleep in the chaise. Maybe those late-night chat fests are catching up with me as well!

Tonight, Katie, Stephanie and I had a late evening dinner downtown at Elijah's. The weather was perfect, warm and humid like a southern summer evening is supposed to be, and the company couldn't have been better. I enjoyed both girls so much and I savor these golden moments.

My father spent the afternoon working diligently to clean out my vehicle which I am hoping to trade in on a VW Beetle in the not too distant future. He completely detailed the interior, cleaned out way too much junk that was left in it and, I don't think once during the period of time that it was used for "other purposes", it was ever touched in terms of cleaning up. It's not all that much fun cleaning one's own mess up and it's certainly not fun having to go back in and clean up someone else's, which has been the case in several areas of the house, patio and shed. Nevertheless, after a LOT of work on my father's part in heat in which he should never have been working, he has it looking, after 16,000 plus miles and a lot of unnecessary and careless abuse, almost brand new. As always, he applied his attention to detail and did a stellar job. Thanks Dad! It's a shame it was "turned back over to us" in that deplorable condition. Live and learn, right?

It's been a very sweet day followed by a very enjoyable evening. Life really is good.

We are all enjoying our Katie visit. I'll have more photos and a full report of Saturday Nights Soiree. I hear Vanessa is all prepared to do her best Gladys Knight & The Pips imitation. It doesn't get much better than that.

Stay tuned for an update.