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You can blame Bill Clinton for this hubris. If you've read his book, you know that when he was coming up in politics, he took daily notes about who he met and when. Networking 101, I guess? Well, a guy from North Carolina read that book, and following suit, came to Washington with a front pocket full of notecards and a Montblanc to record both the mundane and the momentous.
That's how we know now the exact date of when we all became friends.....
On October 11, 2001, after some young co-eds were over-served at a cocktail party, they ventured past the gates of the White House to the bar at Old Ebbitt Grill. Basic geography had sparked the fire of their casual meeting - two of them came from North Carolina, two of them from Tennessee; in Washington, this practically makes you cousins. Before the night was over, Ian was carrying Patra's shoes. Mary was speaking to P.R., Patra's mother, on the telephone while back in Tennessee, P.R. implored, with a mix of disappointment and worry, to her daughter: You better hope these are nice people. As she takes it all in, Jenny remarks that this is how nights in Washington should be spent. Cue John Parr right now.
If we had a dollar for every time we've retold this story, unedited, we'd knock a chunk out of the National Debt. Last night, Ian, Mary and I returned to Old Ebbitt Grill.
Jenny couldn't make it, but Aaron was in town, so we gave him a VIP pass to join us. Even though he wasn't there that night, through the years he's been a real timber in our own little St. Elmo's Fire.
Between all of our new jobs, lost jobs, (f)unemployment, broken hearts, moves and marriages, we have made in just ten years a lifetime of memories.
As P.R. has come to know on her own..these are very nice people.
We marked five years at OEG. When year 15 rolls around, if we're all still in town, we'll celebrate St. Elmo's Fire Day, as October 11 has come to be known, all over again.