Meet My Friend:
So how do I tell you about Graeme without repeating the same superlatives I've used with my other friends? Same superlatives, different story really. I think I'll have to go out and get myself a thesaurus if I don't want these stories of my friends to become repetitive.
I'm sure in your life you have many friends that are friends for all sorts of different reasons. Friends that make you laugh, friends that make you cry - friends that just sit there and don't do much but make you feel wonderful inside. Graeme does this for me, and continues to do it to this day as well.
In 1989 when I was heading back over to England I stopped off in Perth for a month and then from there I flew to London. I was lucky enough of my trip to have the best British Airways Flight Attendant you could ever hope to have. Graeme Scroggie. To this day I vividly recall the first time I saw his face! I was sitting on the aisle seat and I looked across to the opposite side of the plane and as I did so, I saw this man staring back at me. When he saw that I was looking at him, his smile was instantaneous - and what a smile. I have told people that when he smiles, the whole plane lit up! And to me, it did.
He paid very close attention to my needs on that flight and before he disembarked at Abu Dabi he gave me his address and phone number of his sister in London and told me to give him a call later on in the week and we could meet for a drink. Of course, this thrilled me because he looked like a lovely man and we had hit it off so well on the plane.
I tried calling the phone number many times, but he was never there. After several months of not being able to contact him, I sent him a letter saying that it had been a pleasure to meet him and even if we never saw each other again, he had made a difference in my life. About a week later I received a phone call from him. I was so excited to hear his beautiful voice again - he is Irish and has the most amazingly gorgeous accent. I don't think he actually speaks, he sings ....
Anyway - to cut a really long story short, we arranged to meet and he came out to where I was living at the time - Egham, Surrey. It was so great to see him again and we chatted like lifetime friends. He told me how he'd met this fellow steward on the flight after mine, and that they were an item. I have to admit here, that I was bummed as I had the notion that I wanted to be a bit more than a friend to him. But he was in love, and I respected that!
After that we kept in contact by phone or letter, and if he was in London I would go and see him, or he would pop up and see me wherever it was that I was living at the time. Several times we walked around Windsor Great Park just talking, and that's where I was first introduced to 'tree hugging'. I never realised that it was a thing that was physically done, but Graeme showed me the finer points and it was nice to see! Just recalling those times spent together gives me warm fuzzies.
It never ceased to amaze me that whenever I was feeling down or lonely, the phone would go and it would be Graeme just phoning to say hello. He always seemed to know when I needed to hear his voice, and his words of support and friendship.
When I returned to NZ he managed to fly out there once and I got to see him for a few precious hours when Timothy was about 18 months old. I did have a great photo of that, but of course it got lost in the mail on our trip to America.
Also - I had visited Perth once and Timothy and I got onto the plane for our return trip to NZ and who was standing there with the biggest smile on his face?! The one and only Graeme! That was the best trip I've ever had on a plane and his co-workers were so wonderful that they gave him lots of time to sit with me so that we could catch up with each other's lives. Oh, and we got bumped up to business class for that trip too - it was perfect!
One of the things that I was looking forward to when we moved from Montana to Maryland was the fact that Graeme flew into Baltimore and Dulles - both within an hour of where we lived. So while we were there Graeme got to come and visit on several occasions. This of course meant that Todd finally got to meet this man that I had told him so much about over the years. They hit it off so well from the moment they met. I love seeing Graeme with my family as to me, he is an integral part of it, as are so many of my other friends.
Graeme lives in Lancashire with his lovely wife, Angela and their two sons Liam and Ciaran. He has done really well for himself and his family and he and I often talk on the phone for many hours. Through my 'rough patch' he gave me words of strength, but was also the one to tell me to 'sit up straight and stop feeling sorry for myself'. I hope that I have been there for him, as much as he has been there for me but I do know one thing, our friendship is a true, deep friendship and having Graeme in my life is just another wonderful ray of sunlight in my life.
Same trip - we'd managed to walk down to the 'back' of Windsor Castle so we took the opportunity to take a photo! So glad I did now!