Friendship with Deborah Johansen came with the package when I married Mauri. Since they’ve known each other through thick and thin for many, many years, she didn’t have much choice in the matter. The nice part of that deal is that she and I developed a unique bond, and now we just love each other with no strings attached.

Inherited friendship starts when the will is read. It has no history. So how was I to know she was famous? I’ve come to accept the fact that when we hang out together in downtown McMinnville, her hometown, we won’t have much actual time together because first this person and then that person will stop her to talk. She knows everyone in that town and everyone in that town knows her.

A couple of weeks ago we decided to take the topless jeep for a Sunday drive after church. We headed out in the opposite direction, away from McMinnville, and ended up doing a bit of shopping at Washington Square. You know what happened. There we were in Bath and Body Works, sniffing hand soap fragrances, when Deborah noticed a couple with children conferring and looking in our direction.

Off she went to greet a former student, now grown, and to learn all about his life.

She was still visiting after I made my purchase.

Last week we enjoyed the state fair, where I took this picture:

We noticed this poster because we had already scored a couple of the few remaining tickets before every last performance of the show sold out.

On Sunday night we were in the lobby nibbling a snack before the show, and who should make a rare pre-performance appearance but the director herself.

Deborah is drama. Can you see it in her hands? Ask her any question about any Broadway show. She’ll know the answer, I guarantee it. She can act; she can sing; she can direct! We watched as she entered the theater and sat down. That was the tech’s cue to lower the house lights. Such power she wields!

Can you pick her out? I snapped this just before the lights dimmed.

During the intermission Deborah came and talked to Mauri and me at our seats. After she left, we sat back down, and the woman in the seat in front of us turned and asked reverently, “Was that the director?” We smiled proudly. Yes.

That’s my friend, Deborah. She’s famous!

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