birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

A Shining Beacon

She is the slender lady in the corner of the room, holding a vodka tonic with a twist of lemon, who has captured the attention of those around her. Constant laughter comes from that side of the room. She is quick witted; her comments leave you laughing. She is that person in the room, the one you want to be with, the one you naturally gravitate towards.

I have known Ellen since we were young and would see each other at large Greek gatherings. A decade younger than me, it was not until my youngest was born and we needed a godmother that we became close. 

When Ellen baptized our youngest she was finishing her freshman year in college. She was a mere 18 years old. We had an instantaneous bond. I can’t even recall the number of hours she spent with us. The girls loved her as did my nieces and nephews as she loved playing with all of them. We joked with her saying she was on their level. It was not a party for any of them without Ellen being there. During those years I was her sounding board through many trials and tribulations. It was not unusual for her to call and for us to be on the phone until 2 a.m.

When was she in her mid-twenties she became engaged to a Greek boy living in Canada. She asked us if we thought she should go, we both swallowed the lump in our throat and said yes. She was so in love; how could we tell her no don’t leave us. After she got out of the car my husband was unusually quiet and I cried. It was like letting go of one of our children.
When she became a mom, we laughed about those late-night calls since the girls were so young and I was up bright and early each day. I never paid her back though because she is a night owl, totally the opposite of me!

What makes Ellen so special is she is always a joy to be around. She is smart. She is positive. She is fit. Her sense of humor never leaves you bored. She also has a very serious, sincere side to her which comes out in the kindness, empathy and support she easily gives to others.
What a great combination to be smart, funny and empathetic. The hours of laughter we have shared has been a shining beacon in both our lives. I know when I am with her, my stomach will hurt at least once from laughing so hard. On the flip side we have shared tears, with the passing of loved ones and the decisions we made in our lives which just did not work out the way we thought.

She is a fashionista. She enjoys reading those type of magazines and is my consultant on all things fashion.

As the years have passed we have stayed connected. We are so alike it is almost frightening. I get her and she gets me. We have been each other’s rock. We know we can always turn to one another, there is no judging each other on our thoughts or decisions. It really is great to have such a wonderful sounding board. Although we don’t talk daily, not even weekly, our calls are such that it feels we just hung up a few minutes ago. 

Ellen is one of those dear friends who does not mince words, she says the tough things you need to hear. She has a deep love and respect for me, as I have for her. When she gives advice, I listen. In the moment I might be upset but that anger fades as she is always spot on.
I am truly blessed to have her in my life.


Bad ass broad