Monday, November 4, 2013

The story of Mr.Fitz and Jules

My phone starts whistling on Saturday afternoons, yes, it is a happy little phone. The reason it is whistling is a text message is blazing across the country from sunny San Clemente, California to crisp East Tennessee. I know who it is and what its about. It's from Fitz and its about football, its our weekly thing of the past few years. It involves good natured ribbing, mostly on his part and my attempt to learn about college football. He watches the ''whiny, overpaid babies of the NFL.'' for me and I try to keep up with the Ducks and Irish for him. Who is the man and why is he so important?

The story of Jim Fitzpatrick and I goes back to sometime around 1983. My older sister Kim was involved in the youth group of our parish St.Bruno's in Whittier, Ca. She would come home talking about the youth minister Jim, I really don't know the details other than our family started participating in events with the youth group. My very first memory of Jim was during a youth camping trip that our family tagged along on. The youth were camping on the beach and we were nestled in our trailer. It started to rain and Jim came busting in, I ended up having to share my bunk with him.

He was a young twenty something, unmarried, trying to get into the fire academy and he became buddies with my Dad. I remember Saturday mornings Jim would come running to our house during his training runs and I would make him an egg in the butter, no seasoning, just a scrambled egg in the microwave. It was true friendship that he ate my eggs!

We just had a bond, not sure that bond can be explained outside our mutual admiration society. Since I was seven years old, he has big brother, mentor, confidant and friend. He used to call me his little ''Meggie'' when I was really young. He is really tall and I have always looked up to him and adored him.

Jim was a fixture in our house, always popping in and hanging around. He was friend to my Dad, long after he was done being youth minister and friend to me as well. One day, he brought a beautiful young girl with brown hair to our house. I remember that I was jealous, I didn't want her to marry my Fitz!

They did get married and we fell head over heels for Jim's bride Jen. She is beautiful on the inside and out with the voice of an angel. Eventually they would have children and I would become their chief babysitter. I always tell people that Chris my nephew, Kevin and Caiti Fitz were my first children. Kevin and Caiti were my babies before my babies.

We would spend every weekend together. Jim bought a boat, took Jen and I out and taught us to water ski together. Saturday morning's after my Friday night babysitting gigs, he would put me in the driver seat of his blue Nissan truck and taught me to drive stick down Stage Road, patiently teaching me through me jerking us through stops. I will never forget once Jen said to me, ''Jim never goes the same way twice, he is always finding little shortcuts here and there.'' 

As an adult, my father likes to complain about my driving. He says, '' You never go in a straight line! You always are going a different way'' I always tell him, ''Please forward all complaints to the Fitzpatrick school of driving'' ( or his sister Maggie)

Jen would curl my hair, talk to me about boys and makeup, pick me up from school on Friday's and drive me home. They paid my way through high school with my babysitting money from them!

One day Jim and Jen moved away, I got married, had a baby of my own and moved away myself. We didn't see each other often. Only at family events here and there, weddings and my grandparents funeral. Jen played for my Grandpa's funeral and helped us give a true wake in his honor. 

Though he did break my heart at my Grandmas funeral by telling Brianne, my cousin that she was his favorite of the Brown cousins. He always has maintained that is true but that I don't count in that group, I am different!

Then text messaging came along and bridged the gap. Jim took to texting me about football and it has stuck, I love our weekly tete a tete's. I always love when he texts that he is visiting my Dad and staying the night. One of the last things before I moved away was go to stay with Jim and family. He and my Dad didn't want me to move and I know why. Aside from Marty and Conner, they are the two men I love most in this world and it was going to be hard on all of us for me to move.

That last night I spent with the Fitz's was something I will remember for the rest of my life.

Mr.Fitz and I, December 2012
Thank goodness for college football and the NFL. It doesn't feel like we are far apart at all. Two weeks ago, I did get chastised for not paying attention to the scores of Jim's teams which led to me making a public apology on Instagram to Jim. He loves the social media as much as me, I need to get him a Twitter account!

To know me is to know of my love of Jim. This blog has been a long time coming, I was maybe going to write it next year for his birthday. As we were texting back and forth tonight, it only seemed right to tell you all about him. He makes me laugh, loves me and is truly one of my life long best friends. Everyone who knows me well, knows about Fitz. Even my Dad knows that he shares his friend with me!

Jim knows that I love him, I tell him often just as I know he loves me right back. I've been lucky to call him friend for over thirty years now. Never discount children, I truly maintain that friendship can withstand age gaps, when you have a bond with someone, you just do, age doesn't matter at all!

The year I met Jim. I always thought this was a picture of he and I. It is my Dad and I though, Jim was there that day though.

I love my cop husband but I love my fireman friend Fitz too. Three of the loves of my life talking to each other.

All of my babies together. My kids and the Fitz kids 2006

The best thing Jim ever did is marry beautiful Jen
Jim being Jim, dancing with my Dad on my wedding day
Jen Fitz and I, December 2012

Jen knows if she sings, '' You are my Sunshine'' that I always cry. My own private concert 2012

Kevin demonstrating the fire phone. I made many a phone call on that phone during my babysitting years

I love this picture. My Dad and Fitz, two most important men after Marty and Conner

Dancing with Kevin and Caiti on my wedding day

Caiti and I on my wedding day in the famous Princess Di pose

Jim sends me these in texts, just to make me smile and laugh

Kevin and I, 2012

Caiti and I, 2012