Sunday, February 2, 2014

Happy birthday to my favorite groundhog!

Today my longtime friend Jeannette (Jette) turns 50!!! 

It's going to be a year of 50th birthdays this year. This is what I wrote about Jette, my "palanca pal," in 2010:

When I was a senior in high school I heard about Episcopal Youth Encounter, somewhere. I remember my nervousness going off to a beautiful old lodge in the Columbia Gorge for a weekend, not knowing a soul. I was scared and nervous but compelled to go. This is how I am. :)

Fortunately I had an inspiring, amazing experience and I became immediate friends with another brunette guitar-playing high school senior from Corvallis. One of the most memorable things about Youth Encounter was receiving a paper bag of palanca: letters and cards from family and friends, expressing their love and prayers. I will never forget that amazing experience of receiving palanca for the first time. 

Me, Amila, and Jette--senior year
Now it is 32+ years later, and our friendship has been full of palanca over the years. At the next few Youth Encounters we served on the leadership team together and spent time visiting each other, along with Jeannette's sweet Sri Lankan exchange sister Amila. 
My high school graduation--with my close friends and Nadine
Our life paths are very different--Jeannette and her husband Jon run a boat charter business in the San Juan islands and spend most of the charter season with their adult clients. Couldn't be more different from our crazy life with chaos and three children! Jette whips up gourmet meals for their guests and writes newsy update emails at the end of each week, entertaining us with funny details about each charter (including how much wildlife they've spotted). She's an active runner and hiker and plays guitar, reads, and plays games in the evenings after all the cleanup is done. I have no doubt that she and Jon are charming, engaging hosts! Maybe someday, after the kids are college educated, we can go on one of their charters...if they haven't retired by then! 
Jon and Jeannette in 1986, after they started their business
We don't see each other very often--the last time was 2010 after several years' absence. For many years, Jette and I communicated regularly via long, newsy letters, including through college and my years in Japan. She also read at our wedding. I miss the days of letters sometimes...somehow a palanca e-mail just doesn't cut it.
With Jette the last time I saw her, in 2010, in Bellingham

I hope, someday during our 50th birthday year, to be able to jam with Jette again as we made music together 32 years ago! Happy birthday, Jeannette! Sending you hugs and a song!

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