John is looking at me, like when are you going to get dressed so we can hit the road, but I need to get this posted first. Then I'll gladly go. I'll be ready in fifteen minutes. I promise.
When we first arrived in California, we had a grand weekend with Dave and Jeanne. One of the highlights was our trip to the fire station where their son James was taking the place of one of the fire fighters injured in the recent Santa Barbara fires. James is actually the reason our two families are friends.
Way back when Tighe, our oldest, was in seventh grade, he started baseball, and was on a team with James, also playing for the first time. Tighe had been playing basketball since he was old enough to get on a team. Very athletic, he quickly showed himself to be star material. James was very likely the slowest runner on the team, with the poorest batting average, the best attitude and the biggest smile. I fell for that kid over the weeks I sat watching the pre-game practices. As team mother, I didn't miss any of them. Most of the parents wouldn't show up until the real games started.
The afternoon before the first game, I asked James if his mother was going to be at the game. He told me that, of course, she'd be there. I sent him off with a message to her. "Look for the lady in the railroad cap. I'll have an empty lawn chair next to me, just for her." He wanted to know why I'd be bringing a chair for his mother, and I told him the truth, which has lasted to this day. "Anyone who's raised a son like you is someone I want to know.
We've been great friends for over twenty years. Thank you, James. And thanks for taking the photo of me while we were there. He used his cell phone camera. My cell phone can't deal with that sort of thing, so I had him email it to Jeremy, our middle son in Louisiana. He's up on all things text and photo. He forwarded it to my email. You might want to know—that coat weighs a ton. I can't imagine working in it. Firefighters are amazing. James is one of my heroes. He has no idea how often I pray for him, but I think he knows how much I love him.