Infectious laughter – being blessed with such a pleasantly permanent contagion has got to be one of God's way of saying, "this person is special." At least, I know that is the case for a special friend in my life with the name of Carly Blackburn. I have to say that I doubt I have ever been able to be around Carly without receiving a much needed, unsolicited laughing attack. This girl, woman now, has a way of finding humor and happiness in life. When we were in the High School world together, I have to admit that I was both grateful and envious of her gift. Grateful because it always brought the sun out to break away my constant rain cloud of doom, and envious because I wish I could carry around the sun all by myself. But lucky for me, Carly was there to teach me here a little and there a little how to do so just by observing her.
One thing that stood out to me the most was Carly's ability to find joy in extremely small experiences or things. Take for example her college job: pining bees. I'm not even joking when I say Carly studied bees to help her get through college and she was absolutely enthralled with it. She loved to talk about the different types of bees and where to find them and what they did. And I would listen to her smiling and thinking, "Wow, I never knew bees were so exciting!" And they were, at least when Carly talked about them. Because of Carly's ability to find such joy in so many small things, Anne and I were thrilled to go on a trip to CA to see Wicked with her. I was so excited to see her face and her reactions while we watched the show, but what was funny, was everything seemed to be equally exciting for her. Although the show was definitely the best part of the trip for me, she'd go off about how fun this and that was and the seashells on the beach etc etc etc. She was able to take the trip and make a ton of memories out of it while I only had two. One, which was the absolutely amazing show, and the other, which was sun poisoning. Which by the way, Carly had us laughing about basically the whole trip because she had such a positive view on it.
Carly was so much a joy that we decided to ask if she'd come along for a family trip to see Wicked again the summer of 07'. This time, I tried to vacation her style a little bit more. My favorite part of the trip was singing Broadway songs full blast on the road-trip and taking pics in the coolest bathroom I have ever been in to date. I'm not sure what made it so cool except that Carly was making my laugh hysterically in it when we took a pit stop in Colorado. Actually, I believe the goal was to take a picture of us in every bathroom we went to on the road-trip, and her utter excitement about the idea was what was making my crack up.
Anyway, I will forever remember how to vacation and live life the Carly-way. Something else I learned from Carly was her ability to just be herself. She didn't try to live up to what seemed like other's expectations. An example of this is when it would get late during sleep-overs, instead of staying up at ridiculous hours, Carly was okay just to say, "I'm tired. I'm going to bed." We loved to tease her about going to bed early, but looking back now, I loved the fact that she stayed true to herself instead of trying to fit into some mold that she didn't fit into.
Speaking of molding, another thing I love about Carly is her creativity and her ability to make things. Carly was married shortly after John and me. When we married we were completely and utterly broke. Neither one of us had jobs because we had just moved, and we were barely making it food-wise every week. So, we ended up having to re-wrap a wedding gift for Carly. (Yes, I'll admit it Carly, one day when we are on our feet again, I owe you a proper wedding gift.) Anyway, I honestly chose something I thought she'd be excited about, but apparently she didn't think much of it until she was able to make it into some sort of a jerry-rig for her science class. Now she jokes that she probably used our wedding gift more than anyone else's at the time. But anyway, the point is that Carly can make anything useful and can turn something ordinary to extra-ordinary in no time. Her artistic ability is truly incredible, and honestly, I wish she lived closer to me so I could spend more time with her and learn a bit from her talents.
Carly, AKA as Fora, I am deeply grateful for your friendship. Thank you so much for giving me the medicine of laughter every time I am with you. I hope you remember the memories–bowling balls, scrounge, Wicked, L.A., U2, Aloe Vera plants, bathroom pictures, beautiful hikes, swimming in freezing swimming pools, etc.–and I hope we'll be able to make more again one day. Seriously, I think a Colby-Yates vacation has got to be in order in a few years. : ) Thank you so much for being my sunshine. I love you dearly.