|i regretfully didn't take|
a picture in d.c., so here's
me and natalie in l.a.
five years ago.
thankfully, i was able to see kirk and natalie. kirk and i worked together for months in pre-production on that sister missionary movie that we ultimately ended up not being a part of, and natalie is a continual reminder of just how wonderful a wife can be. when i met them in the hotel lobby, i was immediately reminded of how much i had missed them.
when we got into their car, kirk asked his two daughters who this was. "father goose!" they replied in unison.* what makes this even more impressive is that, the last time i'd seen kirk or his family, their older daughter, salem, was two(?) and we were in town to help with the baby blessing of piper. but they took to me pretty quickly; as i was helping piper get out of the car at the restaurant, she looked at me and said, "father goose, i love you!" now, it's quite possible that she says that to every stranger she's just met, but when she also complimented me on my ring, i considered myself "in."
(*since kirk met me on a movie set where there was another jeff and i was going my nickname, he and natalie have always referred to me as "goose" and it has been agreed for years that that is what their children would call me.)
and i was the popular one of the night, both with the little girls, who were eager to tell me and show me everything, and also with their parents. over dinner at kirk's favorite steak house, things were as they'd always been: rapid fire conversations about three subjects at once, no one missing a beat. we talked about movies, school, dating, work, kids, and whatever else we found room for. it was one of those times where the years that we had been apart simply helped us appreciate each other more. evidencing that, as the girls were finishing off our dessert (i think i had one bite), natalie asked kirk if we could go drive around or do something because she didn't want to take me back yet.
so we did what all good friends do: just drove around virginia and talked as fast as we could, our conversation winding with the backroads. i would've liked to stay out with them all night but kirk had to be up early in the morning and they had an hour's drive back home once they dropped me off. the evening had been a reminder of the friendship that we had an natalie later confessed that, on the drive back, she and kirk talked about how much that they had missed me; funny, i was on the phone in my hotel room, telling a friend pretty much the same thing.
since then, natalie and i have been writing back and forth on facebook and she's invited me back out whenever i get the chance. and that's not too far off; in january, kirk and i had decided that i'd be going out there for thanksgiving.
as much fun as it was to be on set with real cameras again, spending time with them may have been the best part of the trip.