Say it ain’t so…

So yesterday was Father’s Day the sequel at California Men’s Colony (CMC) in SLO.  I’m not going to lie, this week prepping for the event was a bit trying.  Not only was I extremely exhausted from all the events that we have had nonstop from Mother’s Day until now, but this weekend at CMC was actually a bigger event both in buses and in people.

After putting out all the last minute fires I could, I woke up on Friday, the day before the trip, and I just felt spent.  When I am tired before an event, for some reason I do more work so I decided to study the participant list for the weekend.  As I scrolled the list, I noticed a very familar name to me.  My dear friend Stella *, who I wrote about on 2/13/10 and the two boys were on the list.  Miraculously, the word “Approved” followed her name.  I couldn’t believe it.  After two years of phone conversations, Stella * and I might actually meet.

I couldn’t hold in my excitement so I had to pay Stella * a call.  In honor of her infamous voice mails, where she updates me on every little detail of her life since we talked last, I decided to leave her this one, “Stella * Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Happy Mother’s Day, Happy Memorial Day, I’ve missed you.  Sorry we haven’t been in contact lately.  GOTB has taken me all around the state trying to make sure that as many families as possible get to see their loved ones.  On that note, as I was getting ready for this weekend’s event, I noticed your name with the prison’s seal of approval and I wanted to call to make sure that you know what this means…  Not only are you going to get to go in and spend time with your loved one, but you get the opportunity to meet your “Original Holy Hook-Up”.  (This was the knickname she gave me after I found a way to make it possible for the boys to visit their dad on last year’s event.)

Not even five minutes went by and my phone rang.  I picked it up only to hear the most joyous laughter on the other end and without even having to ask I knew who it was and I joined in the chorus.  For those of you who know me, I am a contagious laugher, but Stella * gave me a run for my money.  Then the most interesting thing happened.  Her joy turned into tears.  She told me that she was so excited to have an opportunity to meet her Original Holy Hook-Up.  She then asked me a question, “Maria, I know that GOTB supplies a family photo for each child and their dad, but what about GOTB supplying photos with other members of their family? I am going to need a photo with you and Karen (my colleague) because the two of you are a part of my family and I truly feel blessed and loved for all that you do for me.”

Yesterday as Bus CMC-05 pulled up to the East gate where I was standing, Stella *, who was on crutches was the first person off the bus.  She and I looked at one another and instantly we knew.  All I could say is, “Say it ain’t so.”  Her response, “Is that my Original Holy Hook-Up?”  We embraced one another and hugged the stuffing out of each other.

When I finally got into the visiting room, I went over to her family and I introduced her to mine because Joe was there.  In true Stella * form, she told Joe how important GOTB and I have been for her and what a valuable resource my name has been whenever she needs a little clout in life.  We laughed and I said, “Okay Stella * time to go outside.”  Her response, “What did I do now?”  I said, “Nothing yet, but give it time because family members have a tendency to get on one another’s nerves every now and again.”  She smiled and said, “Wow, you didn’t forget, is it time to get our photo?”  And with that, we got our first family photo.

Two Father’s Day weekends down, one to go.  What a blessing!!


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