John E and V in 2009

Paul and I met John Erlandson sometime in 2006. John played his music all around Evergreen, Colorado and I knew the songs before I knew the man. I loved hearing him sing and play his guitar at coffee shops and bars, house parties and Chamber mixers, and out on Main Street in front the Wildflower cafe. Below is John playing at the annual Gloamin’ Fest (thank you, Willie for sharing this photo).

John at Gloamin' Fest 2009

I’d heard that John E stood up for what he believed in and sang from the heart (even when he caught flack for it) and that he was always doing stuff to help out others and the community in general (still is). Looking back, I think I’d simply made my mind up that we would be friends, even if I can’t quite remember how and when it actually happened.

At a Cupcake Shop in Boston's North End

When Paul and I hit the road as Caretaking Couple back in 2009, we all promised to keep in touch.  Little did we know then that John E would actually come visit us every year, regardless of where we ended up!  The pic above was taken in early 2010, and is one of my all time favorite John E shots (and I have many).  You can read all about that East Coast visit by clicking here.

Paul, John E and Gary in Chattanooga (Humoring V & Posing in a Brick Boat)

In 2011, John E came to see us in Tennessee, and our mutual friend Gary just happened to be visiting the area as well.  I love it when that happens.  Coincidentally, those are boxes of cupcakes in John and Gary’s hands.  Our excuse (and we have a good one) is that John E traditionally comes to visit in February, his Birthday Month.

John E & Flat Stanley Love Southern BBQ

Oh, and let’s not forget Flat Stanley, who had flown out from Colorado for a visit as well and ended up in just about all of our photos. I kinda miss that little guy.  Yes, we are easily entertained.  Thank you for noticing.

Christmas Crowns (It's an English Thing)

It is once again February and John E’s Birthday…but there is no John E to celebrate with. That is because he came to visit us here in Oregon on Christmas Day. And he brought this wonderful woman with him.  We did a lot of lounging around the new digs, wandering Alberta Street and feeding our faces (it’s a theme).

I’m not going to lie…February without John E feels odd.  We are not sad, though, because this year he is celebrating his Birthday with not only his Evergreen friends (of which he has many) but with Pandora, aka his life’s love.

Singing Love Songs and Eatin' Cheetos (Inside Joke)

So, John E.  This is my Birthday card to you.  One never knows what will transpire in a year’s time, eh, Minnesota?  I have a feeling this is going to be your best year yet.   Happy Birthday, dear friend.  We love you BIG!  XOX Always,

Valynne & Paul

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