The Gift

If friendship is a gift, then my writing buddy, Kelsey Gillespy, is a gift that keeps on giving. She and I have worked together for just over a year now. We meet most every week, critiquing each other’s stories and challenging each other to keep going to meet our goals. She catches my weak verbs and can smell too-long paragraphs a mile off.

But our friendship goes deeper than that.

  • We commiserate about trying to stay fit — her PX90 workouts >shudders< and my bicycling.
  • She lets me have a “Grandma fix” hanging out with her daughters, who are about the same ages as my grandchildren.
  • We care about each other’s spiritual life, marriage, and parenting challenges.
  • Even though Kelsey is writing a gripping post-apocalyptic series for young adults, she respects and appreciates my goofy small-town fiction.

In short, she gets me.

Never has that been more apparent than the day we invited Kelsey and her family for dinner at our new home. This was our first weekend there—after we’d unpacked most of the dishes, but before we found the cheese grater.

The evening wasn’t about my fancy cuisine, which is a good thing, because I wasn’t really set up for cooking yet. I just tossed together a salad and ran out for some fried chicken.

The goal was for our two families to get acquainted. Neither of us had even met the other’s husband and, of course, the guys hadn’t met either.

Besides, Brent needed a Grandpa fix.

They came to the door with the girls, diaper bag, sippy cups…. and a housewarming gift.

The gift was a bottle of red wine. Just look at that Label! (Slight pause to let you look…)


It has everything!

  • The name is “Storyteller”
  • It has tiny symbols of people riding bikes
  • And tiny symbols of families and little kids
  • Plus a tiny symbol of someone sitting and reading–dear to my heart!
  • Not to mention the phrase “Ever After,” an ageless storytelling tradition.
  • There’s even a symbol of Kelsey and me studying a draft. It’s in the middle of that bottom group. Okay, it may be intended to represent two people playing checkers or something, but they could be studying a draft!

The only slight glitch is that neither Brent nor I actually drink wine, not caring for the taste of alcohol and all. I’ve sampled red wine a few times over the decades, but never could make it taste like anything other than grape cough syrup.

(Kelsey didn’t know this. The subject of wine had never come up because we always meet in the morning, when the beverage options consist of a) Water, and b) Would you like milk in your coffee?)

No matter, though. I love that label! When I enthused about the label to Kelsey, she said, “That’s why I picked it!”

Yep, she totally gets me.

And the wine isn’t going to waste. I served some on Christmas Eve.

It has also contributed to a couple of batches of killer pasta sauce.

This was one of the graces surrounding our move.
Thank you, my friend.

Your Turn:
Do you recall a time when the gift of friendship blew you away? Or maybe a tip for making killer pasta sauce? I’d love to hear your story. You can use the “Leave a Reply” box below.

Also, you can see what Kelsey is up to by clicking here for her website–but you can’t have her as your Writing Buddy!

I’m selfish that way.

Thanks for reading,

About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
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