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Happy birthday, Leslie! And a story.

Happy birthday to my dear friend Leslie.

She and I have been friends since 1994. We knew each other (kind of) our freshman year of college, but became best buddies during summer school in 1994 (the summer after our freshman year).

She also met her future husband that summer. I met Bryan before she did, but can’t take any credit for their getting together. I can, however, claim — with most of the other people at summer school that year — knowing he liked her. She was oblivious.

Eleven summers later, I took Ed with me to visit them at the camp they attend for 10 days each year. They loved Ed. As we left, Leslie hugged me and whispered, “I’m so happy for you!” Sarah, their youngest child at the time, lovingly stroked Ed’s beard. We’d been dating for four weeks.

We didn’t make anything “official” for a couple of months, but I, at least, was pretty sure we’d be getting married after our visit with Leslie and her family at camp.

The following summer, 10 months after Ed and I started dating, Leslie was matron of honor at our wedding. (Leslie also spent the night before the wedding with me, another wonderful gift.

Their three children (along with my nephew) were Children of Honor. Bryan said an absolutely amazing prayer. What a blessing it is to have friends you love SO MUCH that you simply must include each family member in your ceremony of marriage!

Another fun aside… When Ed and I got out of the car at the rehearsal (the day before the wedding), Sarah ran to Ed and wrapped her 2 1/2-year-old arms around his legs in a big hug. They hadn’t seen each other since camp almost a year earlier.

Leslie refered to her crew as our non-family family in this year’s Christmas card. We’re not related by blood, but we’re family.

I love you, Leslie, and I miss you. Happy birthday.

Chocolate

It’s 8:27 a.m. I’ve already started eating chocolate.

It seems like I’ve been here FOREVER, but it’s been less than two hours.

The day is going o.k., but chocolate helps everything be better.

Except for my waistline.

(Oh well…)