everyone's Irish on March 17

Riley Cramer Thatcher. Gone but never forgotten.

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. Since my genealogy is believed to be Welsh-Irish, I’ll share a story of a friendship that had its origins on St. Patrick’s Day about thirty years ago.

As I was headed down the hallway to my office that particular March 17, I popped into a co-worker’s office to wish her a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Cindy smiled back and commented that it seems like everyone is Irish on March 17. Then in curiosity, she asked, “Are you Irish? What’s your maiden name?”

When I responded, “Shingler,” she just stared back at me. You see, we had already known that we both originally hailed from Pennsylvania, growing up in towns about an hour apart.

“Are you related to Gary Shingler from Johnstown?” Cindy asked. I answered, “Yes, he’s my cousin.” To which she responded, “Well, he was my brother’s best friend in high school!”

And our friendship was cemented at that very moment.

Many work-related friendships end when people move on from the shared experience. And the pandemic crushed Cindy’s and my habit of meeting for a restaurant breakfast every few months. But strong friendships can weather those changes, especially relationships that are faith and spiritually based.

Cindy has had a lasting impression on my life. She’s one of a handful of cheerleaders who stands ready to provide positive reinforcement when I’m talking out ideas for a new project or trying to solve a problem. Cindy is one of the most active listening people I’ve ever met. I once mentioned to her years ago that my daughter knows my obituary headline needs to read, “Norma Thatcher, Child of God,” and not “former Credit Manager” or “blogger” or anything else. The last time we met she presented me with a lovely plaque engraved, “Child of God.”

If you’ve been reading my posts for long, it’s likely that you know Cindy a bit also. Over the years I have written three posts based on family stories from her. I’ve included the links below. One of the posts, Divine Blessing, told the story of how her brother Bob met his future wife the day he shipped off to Vietnam. Yes, this is the same brother who was my cousin Gary’s long-ago best friend.

Friendships come and go throughout our lives. I’m of the firm belief that it’s a wonderful practice to continue making new friends, no matter our age. And if you were ever in Scouts, you probably know the song that begins, “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.”


Divine Blessing

Home for Christmas

A Dessert to Remember