Ever been introduced to someone and immediately hit it off with them? Perhaps you sensed a cosmic connection – or felt like they were a kindred spirit?
Well, for me, that person was NOT Anne State.
In fact, it’s safe to say we couldn’t really stand each other for the first year we worked together at a TV station in Central Iowa. For some reason, I was quite certain Anne did not care for me … which made me instantly despise her. She, meanwhile, thought I couldn’t stand her – which naturally caused a rift in the time/space friendship continuum.
Eventually, we buried the (non)-hatchet over some God-awful margaritas at Hooters. (The irony of that previous sentence is not lost on me either.) Yes, it took an afternoon of underwhelming cocktails at a tacky chain restaurant to solidify the beginnings of a beautiful friendship. It’s probably one of my favorite “How-the-hell-do-you-two-know-each-other?” stories.
After our brief dalliance with teen TV angst, we both left Central Iowa. Anne leapfrogged from one big market to another … San Diego, St. Louis, Chicago, Portland … and the list went on and on. Every time she’d score a gig in a new market, I was thrilled for her … mainly because I knew she’d let me visit, crash on her couch and eat my way through said city. Once she treated me to “Taste of Chicago”. I think she was impressed at how much food I can actually put away. (And by impressed, I mean appalled.)
Anne became a phenomenal touchstone. We’d ponder about potential career moves or lament about our aging parents. But more than anything, I always knew I’d get “real talk” from Anne. No sugarcoating. No telling me what I wanted to hear. Anne was a wise sage – and I remain forever grateful for our countless in-depth conversations. Come to think of it, I’m still surprised she didn’t charge me an hourly rate for psychoanalysis.
In the 20+ years I’ve known her, Anne has somehow managed not to age. I’m sure she’ll chalk it up to her Irish heritage and clean living, but I’m beginning to think she sleeps in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Now that I think about it – I’ve never seen her bedroom in all my visits. She’s also never offered to cook for me – not even offering so much as a bowl of cereal. This would explain how she’s stayed a svelte, petite flower goddess all these years.
Recently, Anne’s career took a hard-left turn – by choice. She opted to leave TV on her own terms and venture out in to the world of non-profit. Her new job? Working in community outreach for Lifesharing – A Donate Life Organization. They are a group who specialize in organ donation. When Anne’s brother-in-law Mark passed away unexpectedly, this non-profit helped her family maneuver through a difficult time. Mark’s organ donations ended up helping save countless lives. As I pointed out to her, it’s a perfect career move – because you can’t spell compassion without passion. And Anne gives 150% to everything she does.
My favorite thing about Anne? She’ll randomly send me gourmet chocolate in the mail. And the box will inevitably arrive on a day where I desperately need a pick-me-up. I don’t know about you – but any friend who will have chocolate delivered to your doorstep is a friend you want to keep forever. The fact she coincidentally sends it when I’m low-ebbing means she has reached kindred spirit status.
Anne State … you are truly one of a kind. Your spirit — unwavering. Your occasional neurosis — endearing. Your mood — perpetually upbeat. Your love of cats — obsessive. Your ability to cook — well, the jury is still out on that one. I cherish you and our friendship – a friendship that blossomed thanks to kismet and an overzealous Hooter’s bartender.
That story never gets old … and neither do you.