For most of Cathy’s career she was an English and math teacher to gifted middle schoolers. We would never have met had she not retired from teaching and come to work at the company I later joined. Cathy had her second retirement about three years ago, and we started meeting regularly for lunch and to discuss books, movies, and all things British (we’re both Anglophiles).
Often when we meet Cathy has a book (or two, or three, or four) to loan me. She’s introduced me to some wonderful authors, including Alexander McCall Smith, Ann Cleeves, and Jacqueline Winspear. And sometimes she also has a little something else. One time it was the super large ampersand pictured in the top left corner above. You all know how I love ampersands, and this one is one of my favorites. Looking at it sitting at the edge of my desk makes me smile and helps me focus.
Another time Cathy brought me a tea bag buddy. Have you seen these (mine’s pictured in the bottom left corner above)? I use it to keep my tea warm while I get the rest of breakfast together each day. It’s awesome. And for my birthday this year she gave me a Toddy wedge. I realize that sounds like a piece of cut up fruit to add to an old fashioned beverage, but it’s not. It’s the most perfect cell phone holder out there. They come in a variety of fabrics, and of course Cathy chose the Union Jack one for me. It keeps my phone close by at my desk, and since it sits on a soft pillowy cushion, if the phone vibrates it doesn’t irritate my coworkers. Plus, the face of the Toddy is also a cleaning cloth for the phone. Love it.
These days Cathy spends time helping her mom, her daughters, and giving to her community through volunteer work. And instead of being in a classroom talking grammar with 5th graders, she’s spending time with grandson Dylan. I know he’s been a real joy to her, allowing her to share her love of great literature (hey, The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is definitely great) with another generation. You probably figured out that’s Cathy and Dylan pictured in the bottom right corner of the photo.
I’m so thankful to know Cathy. And while I truly do appreciate the kind and thoughtful gifts she’s given me, more than that I appreciate our friendship. I’m already looking forward to our next lunch and book chat. By the way, you can find Cathy on twitter. She’s sure to be exchanging a word or two with an author, talking tea, or about her beloved Jayhawks.
Not pictured above: The countless books Cathy’s loaned me, links to fun or interesting articles, websites, and so many other cool things.