Not every friend is someone able to move heaven and earth for you, but it's important to recognize more subtle contributions.

Also, I did three stories about "Best Person Ever" and only mentioned men. Shame on me.

So here is Gretchen Miller, whom I mostly know as a professional colleague, and for much of the past two years, a shared traveller in that realm known as "long-term unemployment."


While other friends could help with things like keeping my bank account afloat, and helping me look for work, Gretchen for much of the past couple years, could only offer me a sympathetic ear. In truth, there are loads of people I can turn to for that, but here is why Gretchen is the Best Person Ever.

She understands.

She understands that it's a combination. That I not only need a shoulder to cry on, but there's more to it than that. There's a combination of things. A pairing.

It's TEA and sympathy, damn it!

Gretchen sends me tea.

I love tea. Tea is incredible and soothing, and a good cup of tea along with a sympathetic ear is a balm unlike any other. I cried after the move from Texas when the box containing all my tea pots failed to show up, and wasn't even on the manifest. Yes, me, a grown man, crying over pottery. Because tea, damn it.

But Gretchen doesn't send any tea. She sends good tea. Whole leaf tea, from single estates. Gorgeously aromatic earl grey with extra bergamot, and the shipments of tea come with samplers. I'm enjoying a lovely Rwandan tea. Rukeri Orange Pekoe... And I didn't even know they grew tea in Rwanda. I thought that was coffee country. But tea! Lovely tea.

Yes, Gretchen understands. I can chat with her, and she'll nod, and not judge, and we can share tea, even a continent apart.

Gretchen is working again, and hence we no longer share our previous burden, but there is still tea. And with every pot of tea I make (I've replaced the tea pots), I think of my good friend, whose shoulder is still there if I need it.

So you see, not everyone needs to move mountains for you. Sometimes all they need to do is send tea. Gretchen sends tea.

That's why she's the best person ever.