Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Here is a photo of 4 of the 5 wives of the Part Time Authors, from 2003. 
From left to right: Katie Craig, Amy Bingham, Lisa Clark, Lindsay Livingston. And our lovely friend, Chanel. 
Nope, I don't remember why Katie is holding a bottle of wine. 

More recently, the Craigs, Clarks and Binghams out to dinner. 

Dear Devoted Reader,

You may have noticed that Patrick and I kind of had a theme going this week on Part Time Authors. That theme? Hoping that writing wonderful and true things about our wives on this here blog will count as our Valentine Gifts to our wives. Well, today is Chris’ turn to write about Lisa….and wouldn’t you know it, the man is out of the state on bidness. Maaaan – he must have gotten Lisa something AWESOME and luxurious and pricey and HUGE to make up for THAT! I can’t wait to hear what it is, Lisa! Congratulations!

Nevertheless, I am not going to sit idly by and have Lisa go unnoticed on this, her Special Day. She deserves this, this amazing and lovely lady. This mysterious female. This woman who’s maiden name is actually, literally VALENTINE, for crying-gosh-sakes-out-loud!

Where do I start? The face. Lisa’s face is…what? What, should I start with the hair? Oh, I see. I'm making everyone uncomfortable? No, you’re right. Let’s go another direction with this.

Of all of us on Part Time Authors, my wife, Katie, and I have known the Clarks the longest. In fact, we knew them before we were the Craigs and they were the Clarks. 

See. Here’s a photo of us from our dating years at Chris’ family cabin in Wallsburg, Utah. Chris and Lisa on the left, in the back. Katie and I on the right, in the front.

Katie and I met in The Garrens, a comedy troupe that performed sketches and improvisations weekly on BYU campus. We had been friends for just over a year, when in the fall of 1994 we started dating. By complete serendipity, we had a class together that semester, and though we didn't know it at the time, that class included two individuals that would become two of our favorite people ever. Chris Clark and Lisa Valentine.

From the fall of 1994 to the summer of 1995 the four of us seemed to be walking very similar paths. Katie and I started dating about the same time as Chris and Lisa. Things started to get more serious about the same time. All of us had similar emotions, similar interests, similar points of reference. But it was more than that. There was something very effortless about our friendships. And born out of all this was this level of trust and safety and acceptance. And genuine happiness for each other. And the hilarity. My gosh, the hilarity. So entertaining and amusing were our conversations (to us), that it became burdensome to find a break in the banter and return to our regularly scheduled reality. It usually came to an end when somebody would say something like, “Well, I’m already late for class, I better go” or “ I've got to get up in three hours to take a test” or “I’m going to the bathroom, please don’t follow me.” And even the occasional, “You guys, seriously, shut up, ER is starting.”

One of the things I truly love about Lisa is her loyalty to her friends. I love to observe her friendship with Katie. I also love that Lisa doesn't treat me like I’m her friend’s husband. You know what I mean? I’m not just Katie’s husband, or Chris’ friend. I’m Lisa’s friend. I like that.

I have never seen Lisa look more like her mom than in this photo. 

So, since Patrick and I shared memories from yesteryear, here are some memories of Lisa from the mid-90s.

1.  Before any of us were married there was one sunny afternoon when I was walking across BYU campus with Katie and Lisa, when it became abundantly clear  that I was merely a backdrop in their world. They were lost in their conversation, like school girls, laughing and discussing how they would always be friends, and it went like this:
Katie: “And it’ll be, like 20 years from now, and I’ll be calling you and saying, ‘Well, we’re just coming to town for a graduation and we’d love to see you; we’re just going to be staying at the Motel 6 –’
Lisa: (Cutting Katie off). “A Motel 6?! Absolutely not, I will not hear of it! You will be staying with us!”
Katie: “Oh, no – we couldn’t.”
Lisa: “Katie, this conversation is over, you are staying HERE!”
More laughter from both of them. And wouldn’t you know it – they’ve had that conversation/inside-joke for almost 20 years now. Every time we would be coming into town we would call to let Lisa know, and I would get to hear Katie and Lisa having this exact dialogue and laughing hysterically. We just moved back to Utah a few months ago, and that’s the only thing that makes me sad about living near the Clarks. I don’t get to hear that joke anymore.

2.  Also before we were all married, Chris and Lisa and I were in a play together. Ordinary People. Everybody saw it, right? Anybody? Nobody? Ok. Well, after practices, Lisa and I would go on long walks. This was so she could tell me what was going on with her and Chris, and I could tell her what was going on with me and Katie. And during these walks, we usually shared a lot of shoulder shrugs and head shakes and the phrase “ignorant bliss” was thrown around a lot. But somehow, it was always comforting to be reassured by a friend that everything was going to work out fantastic. And guess what, it sure did.

3. Lisa later joined The Garrens comedy troupe with Katie and I. During the early part of the summer of 1995, after Chris and Lisa were married, but before Katie and I were later that summer, The Garrens had a midnight radio show on Monday nights, at the KSTR studio. I would pick up Lisa around 11:30 p.m. and we would drive over to the studio together, singing Dionne Farris’ “I Know What You’re Doin’” at the very top of our lungs. Also, Lisa would tell me how great married life was and how excited she was for me and Katie. And when you’re engaged, you LOVE having people excited for you!

4. I remember when Abbie, our oldest, was born. And I remember the day we brought Abbie home and Lisa came running over to see her. And she scooped up a sleeping Abbie in her arms and held her close. And I watched Lisa cry. And watching Lisa cry because she is so happy for you…well, that is simply a beautiful thing to watch.

5. In 1997, when Katie and I finished college and moved away from Utah, and the Clarks stayed, Lisa asked if there was any possible way we could stay. I explained that I had looked for advertising jobs in Utah and just couldn't find anything. She said, “Well, let’s build your portfolio.” And then she and Chris posed for an ad I had written about these new car tires that wouldn't go flat. And here are the photos. We ended up having to move for work, anyway. But I was flattered at what Lisa was willing to give to try to support us in staying.

So Happy Valentine’s Day, Lisa Valentine Clark! I love that we are friends. I love that you and Katie are friends. I love you, period.

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