i met him in our very first class on our very first day of high school.
kind of a genius. he’d be the first one to tell you that. also, kind of goofball. he’d be the first one to tell you that, too. in fact, he pretty much reveled in it.
tall, hilarious & outrageous, it didn’t take long till we were like jenny & forest.
what would we have thought back then if we’d seen this historic picture? i know i’d have been surprised. him, i don’t think so.
his name is mark, & he was going to be the president of the sophomore class.
that’s what he said. i had my doubts.
especially when he got on stage dressed as uncle sam for his campaign skit.
blue & white striped, high-water pants, red bow-tie with matching suspenders, plus a ridiculous, foot-tall abe-lincolnesque top hat — pasted all over with white stars. not exactly what you’d call cool.
but, that’s what high school is supposed to be all about, right?
not really. not if you’re mark.
he had something far better. confidence. it’s one of the main things that drew me to him. i mean, opposites attract, right?
but, did he win? that’s what you really want to know.
not even close. but, let’s not focus on that, or the fact that he lost junior year, too — there’s more important parts of the story.
senior year came along.
“we’ll be running-mates, martha,” he said. “me, president, you, vice-president. it’ll be great — you’ll see.”
i wasn’t so sure. besides, me running for class officer?
my opponent, the ever-smiling, everybody’s buddy & champion gymnast, gerald martin did flip-flips across the stage to thunderous applause. all my skit amounted to was someone throwing a whipped-cream pie in my face.
oh, the head-shaking irony…. yes, i know.
but, mark? it was hello, mr. president.
now, please don’t think for a second that i was bitter. are you kidding? nobody was happier than me. i was grateful mark was my friend & thankful, because i knew that because of him — well, he made me better.
here we are, all these years later, & nothing’s changed. he’s been mr. president for years now. his own huge company, enough accolades to fill that foot-tall, abe-lincolnesque top hat many times over, not to mention richer than God.
& me? this past week, i achieved a lifetime goal. maybe you noticed that the count-down date for “The Most Exciting News on the Planet Earth,” on the sidebar has expired.
that’s right — my 1st published novel, painting juliana is finally out, glory hallelujah!
who do you think threw me a book launch celebration? who was standing there to introduce me, propping me up with pride & adoration? well, it wasn’t gerald martin.
& in case you’re reading this, mark, my cherished, loyal friend, thank you.
even in four-inch heels, i’m still looking up to you.
you make me better.
Basically, everything she said is true… I was (and am) goofy, head in the clouds, definitely a LOSER of sorts, or was for sure in that bicentennial years. But one things for sure, and without heels, I look up to one of my dearest and most cherished friends, in life, Martha Louise Strain Wilkinson Hunter, and she wrote an extraordinary book that is just the start of even greater things to come. I will never forget this morning, all my love, MLL
you a LOSER? excuse me very much, but what a joke. besides, i don’t hang around with losers. xox
Yes, well at 5:17 am I was feeling a little bit like a loser, particularly crying before I had even had some java. Loser, perhaps, not, GOOFY in spades, what WAS I thinking doing Uncle Sam — had to have some confidence to overcome my obvious propensity for “un-cool” 🙂
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Tho I just met you (thanks to a certain protagonist from this post) your loving words made me teary. You and Mark have a love that not only endures and flourishes but spreads and warms the world around you. Thank you for warming me.
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my pleasure, stuart. thank you so much!
I really loved this post. For me, it’s the best, and wisest, of them all so far. It was a real joy watching you and Mark operate together on this special occasion. Everything worked beautifully, and the photograph you posted captures that moment, years in the making, of a relationship between such close friends, just beaming in the light of accomplishment and success.
thank you, david! always knowing that I have mark to count on — I’m truly blessed.
Wow! Loved this story. I knew Mark back in his campaigning days. Full of high hopes and expectations. Glad they came to fruition.
Martha- congrats on your book. Will be n the US for most of the summer and am definitely planning on a great read.
hi penni! mark is a very happy man. lots of love in his life & he makes an impact on so many people. his company is a medical testing company & they real do a lot! Thanks so much on painting juliana! I really hope you enjoy it!! stay in touch on your progress! 🙂 thanks, penni
You are both such beautiful ladies inside and out. I am blessed. You will LOVE Marty Lou’s book Penni!
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thanks, billy ray! welcome aboard!!