The most valuable benefit of my travels is the friendships that I treasure – and this story is about some of those. It all began at StampFest Orlando in 1998 – in those days, the show was still at the old Sheraton World on International Drive.
We needed a demo person – preferably someone local – and our friend Sue Rothamel from USArtQuest suggested Anna Ely.
This picture of Karen, Anna and me was actually taken in 2000 and at that point those shirts were new – by then, Anna had worked several shows with us including our one and only foray to the west coast. Over the years, she has continued to work with us and our friendship has grown – and we have watched each other’s kids grow up.
Last Friday night, Anna was working the Make and Take at StampFest Summer in Lakeland – and wearing that same shirt from 16 years ago. Mine died years ago.
At our first Make and Take in Orlando back in 1998, I stuck my head into the room during the evening to see what was going on – at that point this stuff was still relatively new to me, but even then Karen and Anna knew enough about my lack of crafting skills to keep me away from it. I was about to leave when I heard a voice behind me asking the question that would haunt me for years – “Do you have any ferret paper?”
That was my introduction to Judy Uchida and Jane Clark – twin sisters from different mothers (I still can’t tell them apart) who were working the Make and Take for Debby and Rick at Just for Fun. Judy owned a ferret or two – or three – or maybe more – at the time, and Jane was in the background laughing while Judy began our friendship by teasing me (and I took her seriously at first).
Judy ended up traveling with Just for Fun for a few years – my wife still remembers buying her a cake one year when Judy spent her birthday at a show in Cleveland. Jane ended up raising a second set of children – she and Nick adopted two adorable girls from China. We have shared many milestones over the years.
And Judy never stopped asking me about that ferret paper. So this year, I decided that it was time to turn the tables on her – and I created two sets of paper, one for my entertainment and one for hers . . .
I gave her the “Ferret Face Paper” first – you’ll understand that if you were as much of a fan of M*A*S*H as I was.
And I do believe that she enjoyed them as much as I did . . .
Gotta love those friendships that endure . . .