Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Okie Caviar Is Pure Gold

It was nothing more than a passing comment, but the single most profound statement I heard all weekend was "I'm here to meet my friends." Amidst all the hilarity, the debauchery, and the activity, for a few short moments I sank into a shell of thought and contemplated those words.

There was a time not long ago when we were all imaginary to each other. Nothing more than an avatar on a screen and an assumed personality based solely on what we decided to type into a little chat box that day. Somehow from there we gained familiarity with each other, and camaraderie followed in turn. Friendships developed and relationships formed. Still though, it was all on paper - or more accurately, all on screen.

In what still strikes me as an almost inconceivable notion, as a group we began traveling to meet up with each other across various parts of the continent. Meeting in casinos and hotels, staying in each others homes. Sometimes making upwards of three or four trips a year to see each other. Following each other's lives by what we write in our blogs, sometimes knowing more intimate details about each other than we do our own families or neighbors.

This past weekend I found myself lazing in the sun on the bank of a river in the middle of a country other than my own, surrounded by people who, through any other circumstance or possible reality, I never could have known. There is no conceivable scenario that should have brought a Western Canadian to the middle of Oklahoma State to meet up with twenty or so people from all corners of the continent in the middle of July, but through a fortunate twist of fate it really did happen and I couldn't be more thankful.

It's true what they say - you had to be there, and rather than try to recapture everything that was said and done or places we went and the food we ate, I'm simply going to limit my summary to a few quick words about our host for now, and follow up in a few days with some highlighted moments that have stuck out in my mind. I assure each and every one of you though that I have hundreds more memories of you all (y'all) that I will be carrying around with me for a very long time.

On that note - Gary Darlin - what can I say that hasn't already been said about you? Thank you so much for not only letting us into your home but also into your life and allowing us to share it with you. Everything about your home, your lake, your kids, your wife, your friends, and even your pets is pure gold - just like you. (And please tell Mrs. GCox that I already have a batch of Okie Caviar made in my fridge!)