Another day – another celebrity wedding to announce.
Coming on the heels of the recent Kerryookie matrimony (you read all about in Star, Us Weekly and of course – The Ed Zone) comes word that another member of my circle of friends has found true romance. The word on the street is that our good friend, Kathie Schaaf, has accepted her paramour Jim Beal’s proposal for marriage.
Say hello to JimKat.
Once the details were ironed out and the rider added to the contract (apparently Kathie’s German heritage dictates a dowry of 433 pounds of Wienerhozen be granted to her suitor) – the happy couple hit the streets to announce their engagement. Pure folly on their part, if you ask this intrepid reporter. I had a fleet of paparazzi staking out every last tree house, henhouse, doghouse and outhouse from here to Eternity Springs, NV – just waiting for their private moment to snap a pic of this dynamic duo. That is until a Volkswagon Beetle arrived at my doorstop this morning carrying a trailer filled to the rafters with all the Lowenbrau a news editor could drink. I may prefer the Sammy or the Harpoon but beer’s beer. So, having accepted the bribe (…errr), ‘cut of the dowry’, I have since retracted the boudoir photos I was ready to print. You’ll have to amble on down to my Mookie Matrimony post if you’re seeking the booty call.
In all seriousness though, I want to extend my warmest wishes to Kathie and Jim.
While I’ve known Jim for about 3 years, if I tally up the minutes I’ve actually spent face-to-face with the guy, I’ve really only known him about 12 hours, 18 minutes and 32 seconds. (Approximately.) That’s what happens in these busy times. So often, we cross paths with people at the annual parties and then mosey on through life until the next swinging happening comes along. That said, all I’ve ever needed is one minute to deduce that Jim is a genuinely great guy. From the times I’ve spent hanging out with him, I’ve found him to be engaging, friendly and funny. And most importantly, a perfect fit for Kathie, who really does deserve the best.
I also had the good fortune to spend a great deal of time at another friend’s wedding (Jean and Luther) hanging out with Jim and just having a wonderful time of it. He’s my kind of people. You know the kind. They’re usually wearing an ankle bracelet. (Kidding!!!)
Seriously though, at that wedding, as is the case at the numerous group gatherings that our paths have crossed, I observed some telling features about Jim that just have to make the ladies mourn that another great catch has been hauled in.
First and foremost, Kathie has his eye. The two of them spent so much time laughing and dancing that I believe the actual bride and groom’s photographer got a bit confused as to who actually hired him as this guy was glued to JimKat the entire evening.
At the same wedding, Jean and Luther had thrown the doors open for children to attend so Andi and I had the great pleasure of having Colin and Aria by our side, at their first big formal event. The kids were awesome but a special bit of gratitude is extended to Jim who spent a great deal of time interacting and generally clowning around with Colin and Aria. It was my daughter who was especially entranced by Jim; my former shrinking violet had blossomed into a social butterfly and couldn’t get enough of Jim’s playful attention. The message was sent to me loud and clear – “He’s great with kids.” The return message sent to him, “Can you baby-sit this Friday night?”, has yet to be returned. At press time, his phone had been disconnected.
All right, that’s enough about Jim. Sorry pal, but as a firmly heterosexual husband and father of two children, I can only afford one Man Crush a decade and Papelbon’s already got that sewn up.
Kathie is someone I have known significantly longer. In fact, when we first formally met we quickly realized that we had actually met years earlier. See, I met Kathie at my first professional job, right out of college, when I was answering shareholder calls at Putnam Investments in Franklin, MA. Completely wet behind the ears, I had only been on ‘the phones’ for about a month or two when one day, the new training class came waltzing by our Call Center. As was the fashion at the time, all of the ‘lifers’ would stand up yelling “Fresh Fish” as those new trainees were paraded by with only fear to fuel them. When Kathie walked by, I had an immediate bout of total recall. I’d seen that fish before. (I’m going to get slapped at some point, aren’t I?)
Then it hit me. I yelled out to my boy, Bob, who sat closest to the aquarium and asked him to ask her if she ever went to UMASS Amherst. The answer came back in the affirmative. I then yelled over the cubicles for him to find out if she lived in Johnson dorm? He parroted her response back, loud and clear. “Yes!!!” Still, I had to be sure. I had to hit her with a question that only a true UMASS alumnus would be able to answer. I volleyed back “What is the greatest pizza topping combo you can order at Antonio’s?” The sound of silence. My head drops. The connection was lost. She didn’t know. Then, the cavalry crests the hill.
She was one of us.
Most of that story is true – at least I think it is. Well, she did go to UMASS (or was it Vasser? – Nope, that was Mookie.)
While we didn’t know each other at UMASS, we did know of each other (my dorm was directly next to hers) and my suspicions were confirmed. As Kathie continued to toil away at Putnam, eventually she spun into my future wife Andi’s orbit and the two decided to cohabitate in Acton, MA. While connections were being made at work, our circle of friends was continuing to expand outwardly and Kathie became a core member of our ‘Scooby Gang’. (I had suggested either Crips or Apple Dumpling Gang but both were already taken).
Over the years, our friendship with Kathie has continued to grow and evolve. My friends mean the world to me and it’s friends like Kathie who mean much more to Andi and I than just ‘friendship.’ Kathie is truly family.
And with that, I want to lift my proverbial glass and tip my cap to Kathie and Jim (to JimKat) as they begin taking those first few tentative steps towards the creation of their own family.
To Jim and Kathie.
To friends and family!!!