Andrea is my friend. I suppose that is obvious; I wouldn't be devoting a whole blog post to the girl if we weren't pals. But our friendship sort of snuck up on us, and sadly only a year before we departed for opposite coasts. We'd had a couple Hebrew Bible courses together, but aside from a few conversations about our Northeastern Ohio roots, we were really only acquaintances when we started playing racquetball together. We ended up getting hooked on that great and glorious game, and found ourselves meeting up for racquetball fixes three and four times a week. And in the courtside conversations we started discovering more and more commonalities. Same age, orange sweatshirt, passion for Six Feet Under, etcetera. Same capacity to chat endlessly about nothing, and everything.
The big transformation, the thing that inextricably bound us for life, was the knitting. Yes, I know that everybody and their mother knits these days. But Andrea is the only person with whom I can go from the racquetball court to the knitting couch, and as such she totally rocks my world. As if it couldn't get any better, Andrea is one of my most successful converts to the world of Over the Rhine. When OTR came to So Cal last year, she was the one who was up for the trip down to San Diego. In return, she enlightened me to the beauty of Ben Harper.
Of course, since Andrea is a good friend, the law of the universe dictates that she must move away, and move she did, to North Carolina.
A word on this photo: we took it while we were at an Angel's game last May with our significant others. It was one of the first photos I put up in my office, in a classy clip frame I found at Michael's. I left a message on Andrea's voice mail to tell her that I was looking at her shining face. When I returned home from work that day, I had a package from Andrea, full of fantastic birthday presents. One was a notebook with a quote on the cover, "Sometimes I dream of a place in France, or maybe it's Ohio, where people live in big houses with peeling white paint and children play on swingsets in the backyard." (When she found that and showed it to Alan, he immediately knew it was for me.) And what else was in the package? The very same photo, framed in the very same frame. 'Cause we're just like that.