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Stephanie on Tom (Part 1 of 2)

Tom and Stephanie

I never tire of Tom. In fact, I hope for longer days only to be able to spend more time with him. It's rare to have that type of person in your life. Tom encourages you to be the best form of yourself. He is supportive, understanding, comical, artistic, and engaging. Most importantly, Tom embraces my character and enhances who I am as a person.

I characterize myself as someone who seeks life's most simple pleasures and turns them into triumphs. Until I met Tom, I felt alone in my enjoyment of those simple pleasures. Tom provides the patience and thoughtfulness needed to embrace each moment in life.

Together, Tom and I delight in every task that our lives provide. We enjoy cooking all day on cold Sundays. We dance to songs such as Louis Armstrong's La Vie en Rose. We play in the ocean until our bodies are as wrinkled as a raisin. We sing Broadway show tunes while folding laundry. We ride our bicycles, while holding hands, through the cotton fields of eastern North Carolina.

I remind myself, everyday, just how lucky I am to be able to spend my life with such a generous and kind hearted soul. Not only is Tom the definition of a true friend but he is also the best partner I could ever want in life.

I met John Saturday, March 12, 2016. Tom and I set out to explore the island by bicycle and just so happened, in the beginnings of our ride, to come upon John. He immediately welcomed us with such charisma and enthusiasm and encouraged us to join he and his friends for a bike ride. We knew this would be a wonderful opportunity.

We were greeted by the warmest smiles of full-time residents who expressed how happy they were to have us join them both on the island and for the bike ride. John explained the purpose of that day's ride and I could see how everyone was affected by his words. He was riding in honor of a friend. In doing so, he was displaying the true definition of friendship. He was showing respect, drive, humility, compassion and honesty. He opened up to total strangers about someone who meant so much to his life and, in doing so; he made those around him feel a part of a community.

From that moment forward, we felt the hospitality of the Bald Head Island community. On the night of the bike ride, Tom proposed to me on the most beautiful of nights overlooking the Bald Head Island harbor. After sharing the news with our family, we looked forward to running into those we had met earlier and sharing the news with them. The brief friendships we had formed earlier in the day shared in the excitement of our news in the same way that long-lasting friends would.

Whether friendship is a long lasting companionship with one person or a brief moment in time shared with many people it is always a feeling of warmth, welcome and support.

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