We all have friends that have made an impact on our lives. Sometimes it is friends that come into your life for a short time that make the biggest impact.
A few years ago the Mills High School planning committee got together to plan another High School Reunion for the Class of 1980. A few of us decided to meet regularly for GNO (Girls Night Out.) Starr (One of our classmates) brought along her mom to have dinner and laughs with us. That was the beginning of my love and friendship with Joetha. All of us girls loved Joetha and she loved all of us.
Christmas was coming around and the GNO group decided to have a little Christmas party at Cantina Laredo. Cantina Laredo was one of our favorite spots. Great atmosphere, great food, plenty of laughter and great Margaritas.
The restaurant was especially crowded around Christmas. Large groups took up most of the tables and chairs. I always like to sit at the end of the table so that I could make a dash for the bathroom. I am a frequent flyer to the bathroom, especially if I have a few sips of a Margarita or a couple of glasses of that good sweet tea. There was an empty chair next to me that was perfect for putting our purses on.
The waitress came and asked could she take the chair. I quickly said "No my friend is sitting there. You don't see them"? I asked. The young girl looked at me with this long stare as if she had met the looniest person on earth. She probably had. The other girls quickly caught on and we began to set a plate for my empty chair. It was this day that my imaginary table friend was born.
Joetha loved this imaginary friend of mine most of all. Joetha decided my friend needed a name of Ralph. We would laugh and smile and talk about Ralph often. I joked that Ralph was a guy that looked like Mark Harmon. I was obsessed with Jethro Leroy Gibbs on NCIS. Although, Joetha said that she thought of Ralph as the woman painter from Green Acres.
Ralph continued to come along with us to all the GNO's that we had. We always left a spot, gave Ralph a shared plate of food and shared our drinks. The others would always play along and ask about Ralph regularly as well.
Joetha was a wife, a mom, a coach and a dear friend of all of us who knew her. We lost Joetha in January of 2013 due to cancer. However, Joetha is always close by checking in on me and making sure Ralph still gets a seat at my table.
Remember those who left us are our guardian angels watching out from above.
xoxo - Joetha --Pat
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