Sorry, Candy.

photo (1)Memorial day weekend. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

You might remember that just before the holiday weekend hit, I came down with the black plague. This, however, did approximately nothing to dampen my enthusiasm over our very first Albany visitors flying in on Saturday morning, and thus 11:00 AM found me out of bed for the first time in days, standing in rather confused Niquil’d daze with a crowd of overly-caffeinated New Yorkers holding tiny American flags and one proudly oversized “Welcome Home, Heroes!” banner. I, on the other hand, was holding four glazed munchkins from the airport Dunkin Donuts and one rumpled tissue.

Welcome to Albany, Colin and Jess!

Kellan and I were silly excited to have them. He’s known Colin and Jess since he was a freshman at Duke, and they were some of the first friends that I met after we started dating. I’ll never forget it. We were in DC having dinner at Colin and Jess’ quirky little apartment with the purple wall, and as we sat down to eat I noticed that their dining room table had a couple of names carved into it. They began to tell the story of how as newlyweds, they’d purchased the table from Craig’s List for a song with the idea that each friend that visited them would use Colin’s pocket knife to sign it.

Cute idea, right? It was, until Colin’s eyes lit up. YOU need to sign the table!JCP_2901

Ruh-roh. While I adored Kellan Dickens right off the bat, we had been dating for a matter of days and I was far from sold. I was weeks away from heading back to Africa for another year, and quite uncertain as to whether our little romance could handle an ocean between us.

Jess and Kellan both enthusiastically chimed in, excited at the prospect of Kellan and I signing the table together.

My heart raced and my head spun. I mean, a dining room table is forever. All I could think about was Kellan’s poor next girlfriend [probably a vapid blonde-headed floozy named Candy] sitting down to dinner a year or so later, wondering who on earth the Ashley next to her boyfriend’s name was. How do you delicately inform your brand-new boyfriend and his you-just-met-them-half-an-hour-ago best friends that you probably shouldn’t carve your name into their dining room table because you’re not sure if you’re going to be sticking around?

Help me, Rhonda. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out a way to gracefully extricate myself, and so it was with enormous hesitation that I signed my name. Which wasn’t enough for Kellan, who decided to take up half of their table with THIS little number:


Fan. Tastic. Thank heavens it all worked out in the end–I think that one might have sent Candy straight over the edge.

Bronchitis and all, having Colin and Jess come for a couple of days was just what the doctor ordered. It was so glorious having good friends here that I found myself wishing I could bottle the feeling up and store it away for the rough days. I spent most of the time that I wasn’t coughing attempting to convince them to move to Albany,  and I looked so pitiful that we may just have a shot at this thing! So really, my bronchitis might have been serendipitously timed.

Silver linings, people.


  1. Marge Farmer says:

    Neat idea,that table! we have a tablecloth up at our cottage which we started back in 1956…..hundreds have signed it and enjoy finding their names when they return…….I know…that was way b4 your time!

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