I have known Jackie Robinson since before she married Jack. Butch and I had just moved to Fort Worth, Texas to continue our graduate education. Jack and Jackie were engaged when Butch and I joined the church they attended.
(Jackie and me at my baby shower when I was pregnant with Christen.)
Jackie told me the other day she remembered the first time we invited them to our house for dinner. We introduced them to Wilted Lettuce Salad! How does one remember these sorts of things? I remember lots of Sunday evenings out together after church. I remember lots of shopping dates and Jackie laughing as Butch would bargain a price even in a retail store totally embarrassing me. I remember Butch and Jack meeting for breakfast before work. I remember lots of love when Christen was born and introduced to Uncle Jack and Aunt Jackie. I remember them being with us at the airport as we prepared to move to France.
(Christen, age 18 months, and Katie, at 6 or 7 months.)
You might think that a move overseas especially during the days of snail mail, expensive rotary dial transatlantic phone calls, and handwritten letters would spell the end of a friendship or at least the slow death. Never did it come close to that.
(Jackie and I took Christen and Katie together to get their hair cut. Here, Christen would have been three years old and Katie two.)
I remember coming home to Texas for a few weeks and introducing Christen to her “cousin” Katie. I remember a phone call in Africa letting us know of a cancer diagnosis for Jackie. I remember “our room," the place Jackie kept ready for us each time we returned home from overseas. I remember the last days of chemo. I remember celebrating Christmas together. I remember staying with them the night before Brandon was born so I could get to a hospital during an ice storm. I remember two little girls entirely too quiet, soon discovered washing each other’s hair in vaseline. I remember a vacation to Colorado. I remember our son Brandon having surgery and recuperating at Uncle Jack and Aunt Jackie’s house.
So many memories! I remember life before children, life while we were raising children on different continents, and life after our children were grown. A steady, solid friendship that stood the test of time, distance, and challenges. And then….Jack and Jackie were sitting in our living room in South Carolina. I was updating them on where we were with Threads by Nomad. I frankly was scared and nervous. We had been having someone help us with a bit of accounting but it became necessary for me to take it over. I am many things but I am not a numbers or financial person. Of course I knew this dear friend was gifted in that area, but when she offered to help I thought, “She will think about it and then she will realize in her retirement that this is not something she wants to do.” Then she called a few days later and said, “Let me help!” Jack and Jackie have always supported our work. They have been absolutely committed to being there for us. But this was different. Jackie has invested her knowledge, resources, and time—so much time—into making Threads by Nomad a success, and The Off Ramp would never have gotten off the ground without her assistance. Whatever would we have done without her intervention? Threads by Nomad and now The Off Ramp exist today because of Jackie’s help, advice, structure, teaching, and financial gifting. We finally made her role "official" by listing her as part of the team at threadsbynomad.com. For me, besides being the greatest of blessings, if possible it has deepened an already deep abiding friendship. Thank you, "Aunt Jackie."