Jay is the kind of guy who greets everyone he meets as if he has just been introduced to the most wonderful person he's ever met. And when he sees you again it's as if he couldn't be happier.
Jill is gentle, with a smile and a touch of the same delight.
They are a pair of the most marvelous human beings I can imagine on this earth.
And they are both zany crazy.
One winter day Jay went to pick up Jill at the airport. Knowing their schedule, another couple joined Mary and me, with a bottle of tequila and a bucket of Kentucky fried chicken and a propane portable bonfire and set ourselves up on their front porch while they weren't home and proceeded to have a little party while we waited excitedly for the surprised looks on their faces when they came from the airport.
Unknown to us at the time they went directly from the airport to a restaurant for dinner, turning our 30 minute wait into about three hours.
Now, four people on a cold December day can make quite a mess sitting around a campfire where there has never been a fire before on the porch of their quiet residential neighborhood.
We were polite to passersby and curious neighbors.
We learned that little waxed paper pill dispensing cups didn't last long with a shot of tequila in them, necessitating power shots and the flinging of soggy cuplets onto the sidewalk.
Chicken bones seemed best flung into the yard.
And the boys, needing to pee frequently, found the front hedge handy. The ladies found a more discreet spot around the corner of the house in the back yard.
It was a late afternoon that eventually turned into the darkness of evening, with lots of laughs and a great fire that seemed all the more brilliant after dark, and created beautiful prisms of light reflecting from the icicle laden hedge.
When our friends finally arrived, parked in the back, and went inside through the kitchen door we waited silently, watching lights go in in several rooms. To our astonishment, after five minutes Jill and Jay had not yet discovered us.
So we tapped gently on the living room window, until two puzzled faces appeared, hands held on each side of their eyes like blinders on a horse, pressed against the inside of the window, peering out to see what the racket was all about.
After two weeks apart I'm sure they had their own idea of what they'd like to do with their evening, but they greeted us with laughs, acted as if they'd never had a finer moment in their lives, and brought out two more chairs and a bottle of wine and joined us.
That was one, of many, little vignettes we all enjoyed during the few years our friends were in town.
Along the way, careers led them to other destinations. We've stayed in touch, and for the last two years I have marveled at their adventures in the Arctic Northwest Territories.
Last month Jill was in Sioux Lookout on business for a few days, and we arranged to get together. And it was absolutely wonderful, although we missed Jay, who wasn't along on that trip.
On the last night she was here we all boated on the Minnitaki Queen to a lakeside restaurant for supper. When we docked at the place Jill was staying to drop her off she said, "Wait for a minute. Jay sent a present for you. Let me run up to the house to get it."
She returned in a minute and tossed my gift onto the boat seat. "This is from Jaycakes."
I thought it was a Louisville Slugger. "Why the devil would Jay send me a baseball bat?" I wondered. It's not like I'm going to take some batting practice and then send my resume to the Red Sox.
It was a pretty hefty weapon, and slightly misshapen, but I quickly sized it up as a forgery. No trademark.
Later I found out it was a walrus penis, a souvenir of their Arctic years, delivered just for me.
I haven't yet figured out what to do with it, so it is on the dining room table at camp, well out of reach of Rosie and Boomer who think it is a dog's dream of a chew toy.
And I'm confused. I appreciate the thought (I think), but, really, what should I think of a walrus penis given to me by an old friend now known as Jaycakes?