I asked several of my wife’s friends to say a few words for her birthday. Here is what they said:
CONNIE—After a lifetime in the family of a minister, 20 years as a journalist and nearly 10 years as a city employee, not much can make me even flinch.
But, last week I was blessed, BLESSED I tell you, to finally taste Jamie’s poundcake. It made both my eyebrows raise and praise as would happen in the early days of TV preachers.
Dear sweet baby Jesus—anyone who can bake like that deserves a day of reverence and celebration. It matches her very soul for sweetness, honesty and the sacred vessel for the Holy Spirit. And we are indeed blessed to have her and that glorious cake in our lives. Happy birthday, sweet Jamie! Keep caking!
JAMIE’S MOTHER—When she was little, Jamie had a pair of camouflage pants and wore an old felt fedora that used to belong to Mister Bob Seals, and sometimes she wore men’s neckties and colorful sneakers, and such.
It embarrassed me at first. But I always let her be herself because she was so unique. Nobody is like Jamie.
I hope she has just the happiest birthday. I am just so proud of her. I have to get up now, my legs are falling asleep. Help. I’m hungry.
SUPERMARKET CASHIER—You want me to say something about that lady who was just in here? The one who just paid? Well. Um. She seemed like a nice lady. Is this some kinda joke?
KATIE—Jamie has this huge smile that lights up the room and an absolutely infectious laugh. As soon as we met I could tell she was someone I wanted to be friends with and I am thankful our lives crossed. The world needs more Jamies!
LANIER—There are few finer moments than when Jamie texts you and says: ‘I made too much poundcake, do you want some?’
TONYE—When you meet someone later in life and you think, ‘OMG I have known you forever!’ We might not talk as often as we would like, but I know we will pick right up as if we saw each other yesterday. THAT is a Lifetime Friend! Love you, Jamie. Happiest of birthdays!
MAIL GUY—Yeah, I see your wife out here sometimes, walking your dogs. She’s always real nice and all. It’s her birthday? Well, dang, tell her I said ‘Happy birthday.’ Try not to get too old, it sucks.
JAMIE’S CHILDHOOD PREACHER—Jamie was always my buddy. When you get to be 84 like me, you can’t remember everything, but I remember Jamie was always my favorite. Yessir. Certainly was.
She was always such a joy. Pure joy. That little old girl could make you laugh, or make you stand on your toes, buddy. (Laughter.) I think what I remember most was how independent she was. (More laughter.)
I’ll tell you a story about the time we all went to Gulf Shores, bunch of our church kids, all riding on a bus. It was a mini-golf course or a waterpark trip, or something er’other.
When we’s done, everyone was back on the bus and I had someone do a quick headcount and we left town.
A little ways down the road I got to thinking to myself, ‘Now hold on, I ain’t heard Jamie’s mouth in a while.’ She was always a really powerful talker, you see.
And I mean to tell you, I said, ‘Oh mercy! Oh mercy, mercy, MERCY! I done lost Jamie Martin!’
We turned the bus around and found her waiting for us. Like I say, she’s always been so independent, she wasn’t even worried. I hope she has a happy birthday. I’m so proud of her, what a fine woman she became.
CAPTAIN DAVIS: She thinks biscuits make the world a better place. She is quick to defend a dog’s honor. She makes you realize that all those over-the-top Hollywood portrayals of Southern women are not really that over the top.
ELVIRA—What I love about Jamie: Authentic. Direct. Naturally funny. Sharp-witted, can cut through malarkey before you blink twice.
Takes care of her people. Has a tender heart for nature and animals, especially the canine variety. Knows good food and isn’t afraid to tell you if it isn’t.
Fierce Protector of time and resources. Avid Supporter of good people and good causes. Knowledgeable. Wise and perceptive. No respecter of persons. At ease in her presence. But don’t underestimate her. Honored to call her Friend.
TIFFANY—Jamie is a perfect blend of sassy brass and a bleeding heart! She is equal parts kale salad and peanut butter pie! Happy birthday, Jamie! I long to find that same balance in myself!
JAMIE’S AUNT CAT—Oh, our sweet Jamie. I remember when she was little and she had this stuffed animal, I think it was called Blue Bear. She took Blue Bear everywhere. It was a pitiful Teddy bear, all flattened from being laid on, cried on, she squeezed it to death.
When she was on vacation with us she somehow lost Blue Bear—bless her heart—she was so distraught. She started drawing and coloring posters that said, ‘LOST BLUE BEAR! REWARD!’ And she hung dozens of them up on walls and on cars and such. She was so determined to find her bear.
We liked to tear the house apart looking for that thing, and we finally found him behind the sofa. We love her. Uncle Duck and I say happy birthday, darling.
MANDY—Jamie is everything I admire about a woman. Strong, beautiful, witty, and soft. She’s the real-life version of Julia Sugarbaker.
PETER: So, one of the things I like most about Jamie is the spark in her eyes. She’s got this twinkling in her eyes that hints of mischief, suggests those unvoiced (and sometimes sarcastic) thoughts, and always reflects joy and love into the world. It’s enough to keep you guessing but after some time you learn to read them as plain as words on a page.
ROBBIE—Jamie is a very considerate person. She is easy going. She loves her husband, family, her fur babies. She has a way of bringing out the best in people. She is someone I am glad to call a friend.
MELISSA—(1) Jamie is a true one-of-a-kind, broke-the-mold, salt-of-the-earth original, and I celebrate it! And (2) this is sweet, Sean, but I think it’s high time you get her an actual gift.
SARAH—I’ll never forget the time Jamie dropped everything and came to my side when I was in the hospital with my sweet Lucy who had viral meningitis.
It was the scariest thing I had ever been through, watching my baby fight for her life. But Jamie came and stayed with me for two days straight in the hospital. She held Lucy when my arms were too weak, she told me stories and kept my mind positive and off the negative.
She reminded me to laugh and kept my coffee cup full. She was a true angel, she gave me peace and safety by just being there and sharing the load of my fears for my daughter.
I love my sister in-law so much, she is the kindest, most compassionate selfless heart I’ve ever met. I’ll never forget that time, and I’ll always tell my Lucy of the extraordinary aunt she has in Jamie.
I don’t think I could’ve made it in the hospital without Jamie beside me. I’m so grateful for her.
ME—I love you, Jamie. So very, very much.