August 18, 2015
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to say that I’ve known caitlin since she was born is accurate, but not necessarily true.. I’ve known of her. she is the first family member that I’ve photographed for the grey t-shirt project and she is my cousin – well she is my mother’s first cousin’s granddaughter… we’re third cousins? second? I can never figure that out. anyway.. I would see caitlin here and there during family functions when my mom and I would be down here on the shore for holidays or during the summer. in addition to being almost 20 years apart in age, we really had nothing in common. she was very active in school, athletics, and her church while I was this nomad of a hippie cousin who never really stayed put anywhere long enough to grow roots as she had done in her community. I was always very close to her grandfather, ray (we were both named after my great-grandfather), and in 2005 he and caitlin attended an auction where I noticed that she was eyeing all of the baking display dishes. after a casual inquiry, ray told me that as she was finishing up her hospitality management degree, she was really getting into baking. I thought that was pretty cool and that was that. about 6 months later, I opened a restaurant here in snow hill and after about 2 weeks of doing the desserts myself, I knew that my time needed to spent in the day to day operations and not in the kitchen. I thought of caitlin. what started out as a dessert here and there quickly turned into having caitlin as my off-premise pastry chef… and a real friendship, after decades of a family acquaintanceship, was born. every week, when she would bring in desserts, we talked and really got to know each other – we teased each other mercilessly, and laughed.. this chick can get me laughing like seldom few can. in february 2006, she was asked to go on a local television show to talk about the desserts that she was featuring at the restaurant for valentine’s day and the man who was to become her husband tuned in. it wasn’t too long after that caitlin excitedly informed me that jamie had proposed and she asked me to be her wedding photographer. in the years since, I have watched her suffer the loss of her grandfather with grace and maturity well beyond her years – he was one of the most important people in her world. I have watched her become a teacher who is so exceptional at what she does. and I have watched her become a mother to an adorable boy named gray. she was once someone I would see a handful of times every year and loved because she was my family, but now she is the closest thing to a little sister I have and I am so grateful to have her in my life.

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