Honorary Quail for a Day

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I take birthday odes very seriously. Truthfully, I missed a major one during my hiatus and I owe Quail the Second a doozy of a retrospective that may or may not have to reference how as a baby, a single thigh pinch could make her your sworn enemy for life and how that might still be true. But today, do not bother going to get the mail or attempting a bank withdrawal. It is a national holiday — it is Quail #5’s birthday.

Actually, most of you would know her as my Number One Reader, alternately as my Dutch Buddy. She is rather entirely the reason I started this blog.

We met because she is a high-powered sort of woman who gives of all she has freely, and so she gave of her time and accompanied her similarly influential husband (how could he not be with a wife like this?) to tend the small church plant where we attended when we first became westsiders. She has fabulous hair, which you know I am apt to notice immediately, but it was in her service as the compiler of church directories that I realized my soul had found its match.

She emailed, very politely, inviting some tidbits about our family that she could use to update the directory, offering to write it all up herself if I would rather. I would like to say that it was the gracious movement of the Spirit that led me to email back something so over-the-top informative and largely tongue-in-cheek, but the reality is, it could have been something I ate that resulted in a particularly funny mood and a wildly verbose directory entry. Somehow (in truth, the details escape me… it is a bit of a blur when I write that way, which should tell you how much I remember about what I write here), I mentioned the inevitability of ending up going on the road, doing stand-up comedy on stage, based on the way my life was progressing so far.

I will never forget her response. She emailed back almost immediately, and said she could be packed within an hour.

We became best friends over email. Several emails in, she worried aloud that perhaps I had not noticed that she was closer to my mother’s age than mine (perhaps within about 3 months) and that when I realized that, I would surely cut off all contact. I attempted to explain that not only was my mother my closest friend, but when you find someone who will send you a random photo of pink leopard print waders on a Sunday afternoon to help you convince your husband to build you a cranberry bog in the backyard, based purely on the hypothetical sex appeal… well. You do not let that person go.


What started as emails slowly became this blog, so now you know that all of you are essentially being given permission to eavesdrop on my end of conversations with my dear friend. That means you get to claim her, by extension.

My Dutch Buddy and her husband are members of a very small, very exclusive group of people who we have invited in on our own birthday celebrations — because she belongs with us. She loves the Lord and delights in His ways. She is riotously witty and unfailingly kind (no matter what she thinks of herself — to know her is to know the truth). She is generous in every particular, especially with her time, love and attention.

Dearest Friend, may your day have a positively indecent abundance of sprinkles and confetti poured onto it. May the road rise up to meet you and have not a single passing skunk sauntering in the vicinity. May your wine be well-chilled, unless it is red wine in which case GROSS and may your tables be laden with charcuterie boards that you don’t have to assemble or clean up. May your socks always be new, and soft on your feet, may your laughter be the sort of belly-laugh that counts as an abs workout so you can bypass the treadmill today, and may God instill in you, more with each passing day, the greatness of His love for you. May you know that you are cherished, sung over day and night… which is starting to keep my husband up, so he says happy birthday to you and could I please try taking up a less offensive sound in the wee smas, like a kazoo. May your critics mean you well, but be just mean enough for you to feel free to satirize them like the artist you are. May your friends abound as your years, and your family gather around you like quail.

Happy Birthday, Quail #5!!

2 Responses

  1. Ellen
    | Reply

    WOW. I would seriously like to meet this person. She is beyond blessed to have a friend like you!!! (Three apostrophes, intentional)
    What a TREASURE this (rather unbelievable) post. I bet she prints it off before it evaporates like disappearing ink on a cocktail napkin [napkin under a stem with Cab-Sauv at 58 degrees near a charcuterie board she didn’t have to create]… I would, if I had been given such a profound gift.

    • barb
      | Reply

      Hang out in front of mirrors much? Silly Reader. You aren’t supposed to print it, you’re supposed to post it all over social media so that people know to send birthday treats without it sounding like you are tooting your own birthday horn. The post is merely your foil, which I offer to your hand (btw, the kids asked: did you turn 28 or 29 this year? We just can’t remember…), that it might go forth and reap all the proper birthday benefits. Love you.

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