We both had the same lunch period during senior year, and one of our favorite things to do was to jump into whichever car we had " for me, it was the family station wagon; for Katie, it was a big blue bomber of a sedan " and drive at breakneck speed (although never over the speed limit, of course) to McDonald's for french fries, chicken nuggets, and Diet Coke. We had just enough time to drive there, get our food, and drive back ramming in fries and nuggets as we drove. One time we made a detour to Friendly's for milkshakes, and for reasons I cannot possibly remember, we went to the takeout counter and with high, squeaky voices said together, "We'd like a chocolate Fribble" "And two straws!" And in the way of nonsensical high school habits, for the rest of the year, "Two straws!" became our rallying cry.
I would like to just tell you stories for the next few hours, and avoid the reason that I am writing this. I much prefer to stay with Katie in those wondrous years when we were growing up and discovering the world than to think about how our story ends. We graduated, went to college, wrote each other long letters and spent our vacations together. Katie made a few road trips to visit me at college, and we stayed in touch after that graduation, too. Katie became Kate, and over the years, we drifted apart geographically, though we stayed in touch somewhat. I could always count on a card on my birthday, and not just a "Love, Katie" card but one written all over on below the greeting, on the inside cover, on the back, and often onto another sheet tucked inside with news of her life and questions about mine. In recent years, I lived in Connecticut and she lived in Virginia. With husbands, kids and jobs we didn't have much time to talk on the phone or visit each other. Once her parents retired down south and sold their house in Delmar, we didn't have hometown visits at Thanksgiving or Christmas to get together. By the time we met up at our 20th high school reunion in 2003, it had been a while since we'd seen each other, and I wouldn't see Katie again for six more years.