Two years ago, in our first of many advertising classes together, I “happened” to sit next to a beautiful, smart blonde girl. As we collaborated on projects that semester, our friendship grew. At some point that semester, this t-shirt-wearing, junk food eating, stay-in-bed-til-the-last-minute girl told me that she has competed in the Miss America pageant since she was 3. I thought for sure she was kidding! I thought, “This klutzy girl turns into a graceful queen on stage? Yeah right…” (By the way, this is a running joke between us, so I can get away with saying this J). But before you form any ideas, she is not the typical pageant beauty, which is a good thing! She has a heart the size of Texas, compassion that knows no bounds, a passion for treating everyone equally, and an unwavering love for those she cares about.
And who might this belle-of-the-ball be? My friend, my confidant, my colleague and my partner-in-crime, Courtney Garrett, aka Miss Virginia 2014.
What I love about Courtney, is though she now holds a respected title, she sees it not as something to parade around, but as an opportunity to raise awareness for her platform and shine the light of Christ in every interview she gives, every person she meets, and every picture she takes. Her platform of Defying Disabilities promotes communication and respect for everyone (C.A.R.E), a cause which is near and dear to her heart and stems from the struggles and experiences of her beloved brother who suffers from cerebral palsy.
Courtney is an incredible friend.
A friend who, in the midst of her Miss VA responsibilities, chaotic travels, appearances and interviews, takes the time to call me after my surgery and ask me if there is anything she can do for me.
A friend who will drop anything and everything to be there for me.
A friend who will eat cookie dough and pizza with me while working on a project together until 2am.
A friend who knows me well enough to know when I need a reality check and when I just need a listening ear.
A friend who takes Philippians 2 to heart and thinks of others before herself. Always. Without question.
A friend who, when on voice rest, helps me sharpen my lip-reading skills and charading abilities that I didn’t know I had.
A friend who is amazingly talented and incredibly gifted, yet remains humble and meek.
A friend who is not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for what she believes in.
A friend who never fails to make me laugh.
A friend who isn’t too serious that she can’t laugh at herself when she makes a mistake or acts rather unladylike.
A friend to whom I can tell anything and everything, without judgment.
But most importantly, a friend who loves the Lord and is devoted to her family and friends.
Courtney, you have been one of God’s greatest blessings in my life and I can’t imagine what life was like before you entered my life! With you, I am completely myself, as you well know ;) You inspire me to be a better person and love others more. You encourage me to use my voice. You lovingly remind me of my blessings when I start spiraling down hill.
I remember going to voice recitals with you (including yours) and watching you perform in the Merry Widow, Legally Blonde, and Cosi Fan Tutte. I remember the feeling of accomplishment we both felt after we nailed a presentation and how proud I was of you whenever you made Top 5 for PR Student of the Year (I also remember how nervous you were for your phone interview). However, what I remember most about the last two years is having a friend, having you, to share it all with.
I seriously miss our late nights at your dorm, checking our watches simultaneously to see if we can make a chocolate run, even though we ate dinner just 15 mins earlier. I miss watching Golden Girls with you, downing fruit-roll ups, talking about the latest drama in our lives, avoiding homework, eating out way-too-often, and taking 15mins to decide where we were going to eat because we are both so indecisive. :)
We had fun, didn’t we? But we always knew we would eventually graduate college and our lives would go in different directions. And they did. But even though we are apart, I believe our friendship is strong enough to withstand the miles and crazy schedules that separate us. And when life allows again, we will catch up over coffee & chocolate, picking up like we were never apart.
We are just a brunette and a blonde with an unbreakable bond.
Happy 22nd Birthday, Court! I love you! And I have just one more thing to say…thank you for being a friend! :)
Thank you for being a friend.
Travel down the road and back again.
Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidant.
And if you threw a party,
invited everyone you knew.
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
and the card attached would say,
thank you for being a friend.
(~Golden Girls theme song lyrics~)
P.S.- I thought you’d appreciate these lyrics instead of the cliche “22” by Taylor Swift :)