Happy Birthday, Sweet One


La belle Cathy, my dearest friend

And it’s her birthday today! Wouldn’t I love to have cake with her, and coffee, and a few drinks (no, a couple at most; I can’t seem to manage alcohol much anymore at all, and am wise to stop after one), and take her out for a nice supper, and spoil her rotten.

Alas, I’ll be settling for singing Happy Birthday to her over the telephone.

The weather warning this morning was for more than 35-below: extreme cold. It will warm up a bit this afternoon and I’ll still go for my walk, but driving anywhere one doesn’t have to wouldn’t be sensible. I’m thankful for telephones and smartphones and email to wish her the best.

I was 15 when we met. She and her roommate shared a room across the hall from mine on the basement floor of a schoolgirls’ dormitory in Regina. There was a lot of visiting during study hours and after lights out; a lot of giggling and a lot of cigarette smoking.

Cathy was in the next grade, one higher than me, and by the time I was finishing Grade 12 she had graduated and moved away. I was done school at the end of January that year and got my first full-time job — as a waitress at a Greek steak and pizza restaurant. My shift: 8pm to 4 am. When I decided to attend university classes in Saskatoon and moved there that fall, Cathy joined me and we shared an apartment. She got a job a block away and has remained in that city. We haven’t been roommates again, but hers has always been my second home.

She’s not only one of the kindest people I know, but one of the smartest and the most fun to be with, as a unique goofiness factor and adorable wit are part of her personality. Here she is on the far right in 1983 or so. Her dorm roommate Sue, also a dear friend, is on the left, and that’s me in the centre; we’re hamming it up over a Christmas gift.


If you’ve been fortunate enough to have a friend who unfailingly understands you, flaws and all, yet loves you just as you are, never judging you unfairly, then you have been truly blessed. I am, and I’m very grateful. I know how lucky I am to have had Cathy in my life for the past 48 years. I talk as freely with her as with my sisters; she’s family, and my heart can be safely exposed when I am with her.


4 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Sweet One

  1. I miss mine so very much. Even this morning I’m reading this book and say to myself gawd Helen’s going to love this one and then I remember.


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