Birds of a Feather

Hearts all over the world are breaking: Heather Armstrong, everyone’s favourite ornithologist, has gotten engaged. Heather and I met at a science fair (of all places) in March 1993 when both of us were in Grade 7. I was the only representative from my school; Heather apparently took pity on me, and we spent the entire day talking. I was actually leaving for England the following day, and at the end of the science fair Heather brazenly asked me to send her a postcard when I got there. I said yes and then didn’t; the postcard became a running joke between us, and it took me ten years to fulfill my obligation.

Anyway. We didn’t see one another for a year-and-a-half, then ran into each other in the first month of Grade 9. Our fleeting friendship was rekindled; we stayed close throughout high school, but strangely enough we actually became better friends after high school was finished despite going to different universities. Both of us are fortunate to have been part of a high school friend group which defied the odds and stayed tight over the years. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it.

Heather met Jay (the grizzled beast in the Ottawa Senators jersey) tree planting; I think he was her crew boss, but don’t quote me on that. I remember being at her house in August 2002–her, Angie and I were watching Riding in Cars with Boys–and hearing about him for the first time. He sounded like a good guy; when I actually met him, and he was wearing an A Perfect Circle t-shirt, I knew we could get along. I think Heather was relieved that he could talk about music with one of her friends; to say their tastes in music doesn’t mesh would be a grave understatement. (On that note, Jay actually has impeccable taste in music…I mean, the man was at Lollapalooza ’92!) In February, when the three of us went to a hockey game together in Ottawa, Jay and I spent most of the third period trying to convince Heather to see Slayer with him.

Which leads me to Monday evening, when I was driving into Sudbury. All of us knew Heather and Jay were on the fast track to marriage; in fact, a few of us had been discussing it when I was up in Thunder Bay in January. So when I checked my voicemail messages and found one from Heather in which she announced she had news for me, it wasn’t hard to figure out what had happened. He proposed to her by campfire light; really, it’s probably the only way it could have been done. And I couldn’t be happier for them, even if it means losing Heather to the Dark Side (i.e., she was cheering for Ottawa at the game in February, and now that she’s marrying the guy well…you know). Congratulations, you two!

(By the way, I’m in Parry Sound waiting to get snowed in. I’m supposed to end up on an island near Penetanguishene tomorrow; this is now in limbo, but I guess we’ll see soon enough. According to Google Maps I’ve driven 2,503 km so far. I’m sick of the Dodge Durango. I can’t wait to get home.)


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