Jhoan and I have friends in Toronto. A particular pair of friends who we are steadily trying to find ourselves near as often as possible. They are talented, creative, funny as hell, humble, trustworthy, selfless, resourceful, and THOUGHTFUL! I hate putting words like this in one sentence like the one previous, because I find that they leech meaning away from one another when the reader simply skips from one attribute to the other. But, I don’t stack these compliments lightly.
Dan and Jenna have a list of accomplishments (as a “friend couple”) that are as close to a “how to” of friendship as anyone can be. The following is simply one of them.
A little while ago, Jhoan and I went to the Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia. Driving from Windsor to…well, anywhere east or north is a lame, flat, deflating trip. There is nothing to keep the eye wandering. Nothing to excite or busy the ocular nerve. There are no service centres for the soul. The McDonalds and Tim Horton’s can only do so much. Very, precious little to be precise. And so when I took Dan and Jenna up on their invitation to tell them when we were passing through Toronto, I did. I called to see what was what. Were they in? Were they out? We were keen for a visit with our friends, and we really hoped they would answer the phone and draw us from Highway 401 like a swami coaxing a cobra from his boring basket.
They not only invited us over to see them for a few minutes, but Dan helped me drag our bikes (which we traveled with) from the back of the car, up 20-some steep Toronto stairs, which he then locked to the railing. When we unloaded our highway malaise, they were eagerly preparing a meal. They had friends (neighbours) coming over for dessert soon. But they asked us to stay for dinner (which could be made and eaten before the neighbours were due). It consisted of Dan’s “famous potatoes” that he had made only once before, and they chopped, fried, boiled, blanched, stirred, and mixed without letting us touch a thing. Asparagus, chicken a l’awesome, and the delectable mashed potatoes followed by an angel-food cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. They got to use several of their wedding shower gifts for this one meal.
It was a hot dinner, with friends who we almost never get to see. It was a detour from the drone of the pavement under the car, and it was the most understated piece of magic we never expected.
Our discourse is always goofy, and light, and fun. We heard a song that Dan wrote and recorded in Halifax for Jenna about a rock ‘n’ roll ham…yes…a piece of ham that plays music…that ran for nearly 11 minutes. Also during this visit, he gave me DVD copies of his brilliant and hysterically funny (Chritopher Guest-esque) video series called Jim Dupree: Enthusiast. I have been wanting copies FOREVER. Jhoan and Jenna discuss everything lady-like. I heard them discussing locavores and community-grown food, because of the dinner ingredients having come from local origins. Dan and I try to make words, containing the word speck, (like re-speck-t and in-speck-tion) until we can’t think of anymore, which is what leads the ladies to ignore us in the first place to continue on with real discussion.
Our friends remind us that we are constantly invited to visit, almost perpetually so, and that we should move to Toronto. We sullenly decline, as we love them, and we roll out with our bikes, strap them to the trunk, and disappear back west, to Windsor.
A week or less went by. We got a shipment in the mail, from Amazon. Upon opening it, very curiously, there was a book inside. A book we hadn’t ordered. The 100 Mile Diet by J.B. MACKINNON and ALISA SMITH. Jhoan and Jenna had been discussing this book during our visit and Jenna had ordered it and had it sent to our hose with a note to Jhoan, telling us it’s worth the read, as per her discussion. No expectation. No hint. Just a gift in a brown box that screamed, “we care about you”.
These are the types of things that make me shake my head in amazement. Their thoughtfullness permeates and gets into your clothes, into your brain, and reminds me of how people treat those that they truly care about. Jhoan is the other great example of this in my life…but for Dan and Jenna having only been our friends for a few years(?) it is incomperable.
What’s more is that this is one of so many moments that they have gone overboard for our comfort, enjoyment, inspiration, inclusion, and even career advancement hopes. We are lucky. We know it. They know it. We have told them several times. I hope you have friends like these.