Tuesday, January 18, 2011

She's Gone Country...

One of the things my best friend, Candy, does exceptionally well is be part of my life. That sounds weird, since you imagine that best friends would naturally do that. If you consider what you know about my life though, you can probably see how this would be harder if your best friend was, well...me.

Candy and I live 17 hours away. Which means we, sadly, don't get to be there for some of the small but significant day-to-day happenings of each others lives. I say sadly because honestly, those small moments are wicked important in the grand scheme of life and I'd love nothing more to be a part of every last one of them. That being said, let's get back on track...

Candy is an exceptionally good best friend and she does a great job of knowing every detail of what's happening in my life, which you all KNOW is a lot! She also makes sacrifices to BE there. She comes to Florida to see me, meets my friends, stays at my place, falls in love with my beaches, etc. She drives the distance from Scottsburg to Indy every single time I'm home. Last year she volunteered at 2 of my Indy events AND my Cincinnati Bengals event. She's taken the time to get to know my family members and spend time with them. She is so thoughtful I continue to be blown away by it.

On the flip side of that, I'm a pretty crappy best friend when it comes to this area. I'm a bit of a steamroller and I'm always on the go. It's not like I forget birthdays or don't return phone calls or anything really pathetic like that, but in the past I haven't always been as loyal to just be a part of her life as she has mine. As I examined myself over this past year I realized this really bothered me. When I notice that someone is doing something better than I am, I want to learn from them. I've learned a great many things from Candy but how to be a best friend tops the list by a landslide. I'm not JUST saying this because she's mine, she really is a first-class best friend.

I've always been someone who knows a lot of people but doesn't allow them to get close to her. It wasn't really until I graduated college that I realized the value of investing most of your relationship effort in a few close friends instead of a little bit of effort on tons and tons of shallow relationships. This sounds like it should be obvious, right? But you know me, honing in on things isn't always my strong suit.

Not one to get too caught up in thinking to take action, I decided there was no time like the present to change my less-than-stellar-friend-performance and get on my a-game. With my then upcoming Indiana trip I proposed a change in our normal routine of Candy (and Josh) coming to Indy to see me and I decided it was time to go see them. After all, they live in the town where they both grew up and there's tons of Candy's history in that town which makes me automatically love it because it gave me the best friend I've ever had. On top of that (and a huge bonus, mind you) their whole families live there and they both have great ones.

Since there were about a million of us staying in my house and only 2 cars, I did have to enlist help getting down there and Josh graciously chauffeured be back and forth. I want to pause to note here that if your best friend gets married - I hope for each of your sakes that you love the person they marry. This is a huge blessing that I think Josh is terrific and we get along famously. Lord knows, there are few people I'd trust my bff too.

This trip to Scottsburg, Indiana meant the world to me. I imagine that the recounting of this trip I will do here will come no where close to scratching the surface of just how grateful I am for every minute of it. I'm sorry that my utter lack of skill and ability to paint pictures with words will mean that this blog can't tell you all that I want to say...

First off, you can take the girl out of the city and she may just realize, she likes the country! We packed as much of the Scottsburg experience into those 2 days as we could and I loved every stinkin second. And by stinkin I mean, I went to a cow pasture (in my dress clothes) and it really did stink.

Every day is an adventure as far as I'm concerned and I love a new experience more than the next person. Scottsburg is nothing like Tampa but it has this amazing, small town charm that draws me in. Nowhere in Tampa can you get a fountain diet cherry coke from a real soda fountain in a drug store. Seriously, life-changing.

We took a great tour of Scott County and I loved it...

On the way back I half-jokingly said, 'before I leave tomorrow I want to ride a horse, then this trip will be complete'. Well we didn't have time to ride a horse but thanks to Tyler, I did get to ride a four-wheeler, in the dark. I try not to be a total weeney about things but I have to say I was just a tad bit scared - but thankfully I trusted Tyler not to get me killed. When I showed my Dad the video of me riding he said 'why were you driving so slow'? Apparently I drive a four-wheeler like a little old lady. Awesome.

The country looks good on me, don't ya think?

I have to say, I didn't know people rode four-wheelers on roads. But apparently in Scottsburg, Indiana - you can (or at least, we did). So we rode around and even popped by the junkyard poker game to say hi to Chad. Next time, I'm playing and I will take their money.

We also went down to the courthouse to see Josh's cousin be robed as the new judge! I apparently now travel to Scottsburg for big events of Candy and Josh's families. Weddings and robings that is. It was neat to see Marsha's robing though and it's amazing how big their family really is. Their family dwarfs mine!

I got to see where Candy went to high school. Drink dollar diet cokes from their McDonalds (in a Styrofoam cup - you don't even have to ask for it) - when oh when will Tampa adopt those? Candy cooked me dinner in her adorable kitchen which is decked out in red Kitchen Aid like mine - felt like home. I'm even learning to bond with Ace, her cat (I'm not much of a cat woman myself).

I decided last minute I hadn't had enough Scottsburg and I stayed an extra night so that we could do Christmas with the Owens. Thanks to a quick bond during the wedding weekend, I'm lucky enough to have Ellen as a friend now too. She's such an encouragement to me and I love our text chats throughout the weeks and the sweet pictures of her boys. Cason did most of the unwrapping of the presents for all three boys. Thanks to Santa Candy it was basically like Christmas all over again - paper flying everywhere.

I know I'm becoming infamous for not being much of a kid person but Cason, Jaxon, and Griffin are an exception. : ] I adore them. It was a treat getting to tour their house and play with the boys. Thanks to El, I can now alternate between drinking out of a mug with Candy's face on it and drinking a HUGE amount of coffee out of the sweet red and green polka mug she bought me for Christmas. I'm so spoiled.

It's hard to say what it is I love most about going to Scottsburg but if I had to pin it down, I guess it's that having only been their twice - it feels like home. I love the people. And the square. And laying in Josh's recliner hanging out. Four wheeling. Family events that are bigger than most people's reunions! Candy and Josh have always felt like family but when I go back to their hometown I feel like everyones family. Like I fit right in without ever missing a beat. I love that feeling.

I hope that my Scottsburg trip was a Christmas tradition in the making. I hope though that it will be sooner than next Christmas that I can get back there. In the meantime, I'm already getting excited for Candy's next trip to Tampa in February. I like us to always have a visit on the books so that it never seems too far away.

It felt good to make a big first step towards doing a better job of fitting into Candy's life instead of her always having to fit into mine. I hope sooner or later we live close enough to each other that it's one in the same. Until then, I think we're doing a pretty great job.


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