Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Horrible Night to Drive

Dear Gayle,

It's about this time every Christmas when I think of that icy, snowy night in 1990 when you drove from Ashland, KY to my parent's home in Frankfort, KY (140 miles)for an open house my mother was adadmant about having despite the subzero weather. We stood in front of the fireplace for most of the evening.

Some friends you meet in college remain your friends for life. That is us. Despite the many miles between us over the years, you have never missed reaching out to me EVERY week by letter, fax, phone, visit and now email, FB, etc. You truly know the value of the gift of time -- it's not the decorative card or the funny tagline (although we have shared many of those) it's the ability to have so much you want to tell someone and having someone so eager to listen that you run down the batteries of 3 phones in the house before you get it all said. That is us!!

But one of the greatest gifts of time you have given me was on this wintery, blistering cold night when everyone said "stay off the roads" you hauled that old Mercedes to Frankfort to see me. And I know why. My father's health was declining and you knew, I knew, we all knew, he would never see another one.

Thank you for making that journey. I've never forgotten what it meant to me and to him.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Walking Meditation -- You're Always Headed in the Right Direction

Dear Christ Church,

Hard to recall a more gorgeous fall day than the one we had in Old Town, Virginia, yesterday. I got to do all my favorite things I save for Saturday morning -- long walk along the Potomac River, farmer's market on King Street, petting the frisky dogs, and sipping cider at Grape & Bean on Royal Street hoping a table opens up outside.

And on the first Saturday of the month, every month, I make a short two-block pilgrimage to Christ Church to walk the labyrinth. Thank you for making this available to the community. The candles are always lit. Incense burning. Chamber music on low. The coffee pot full if anyone needs a refresher. Yesterday I had the whole place to myself. Silence and all. I needed it. I needed to slow down.

I've been walking labyrinths for years and yesterday was probably the first time that I wasn't able to form an intention for my walk. All that kept coming to mind was "help." So I went with it. Barefoot, with my hands behind my back on the way in and in front on the way out.

This was the first sanctuary I found when I move to Old Town 5 years ago. Spiritually, it was my home. Now I have joined a different church and have made many friends, but I still come on the first Saturday of the month. The quiet reflection anchors me. It brings me home and reminds me that I am never alone.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Part Sister, Part Cheerleader, All Friend

Dear Martha,

Thank you for reminding me yesterday of the value of true friendship. There's no one else whom I can sit and hold hands with, and cry, and offer up a prayer for strength. We have supported each other through college days in Lexington, Kentucky, our rambling years in Atlanta (photo circa 1988) and our mid-life in DC.

Our friendship reminds me of the magic of the universe. Some call it destiny, I simply call it a blessing. When I introduced you to my neighbor in 1984 (??) at the pool on Labor Day you met your husband for life. Two beautiful daughters followed and you never let me forget I started it all.

Throughout the years, your cards and letters flooded my mailbox. You announced your pregnancy from San Francisco while on a business trip, your intention to make 1989 our best year from Los Angeles, and found me in Mexico on my 50th birthday. When the phone rings these days I know it's you on the other end with an invitation to dinner with your family (which of course has become mine).

It really doesn't matter what city we live in from now on. If you follow me to Cape Cod or we simply meet up online. You admonished me once after our friend Anna Gaye's early death, "we don't have it so bad after all, we have problems that we can do something about . . . this is life, not a dress rehearsal . . . live your own life, not a replay of your mother's or anyone else's."

Thank you for caring enough, and being bold enough, to never let go.


Friday, August 20, 2010

More Than One Fashionista in the House

Dear Tigger,

Someone mentioned today that I should start shopping for my fall/winter wardrobe. A bit of a stretch in this heat, but I instantly thought of you and that pretentious swagger of yours in the kitchen this morning showcasing the season's hottest new fashions in animal print.

You look adorable in this leopard scarf! Where, please tell, did you get it? Does it come in zebra stripe as well?

I can always count on you to lead the way in fashion.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Blonde Chicks Unite

Dear Lin,

Thank you so very much for hosting our 25th friendship anniversary this weekend in Richmond.

I knew the minute we met at the Del Coronado in the summer of 1985 that you were my kind of gal. Maybe it was your stylish and very expensive jewelry. Maybe it was the quick wit and giggle that hinted at something you might not want to tell your mother. Maybe it was our kindred love for organ transplantation. Maybe it was because the stars knew they needed two mortals who could collectively keep the economy afloat with their shopping habits.

Who knows? But, the dearest of friends we have been through four cities (me), ten lovers (me), six careers (me), one husband (you) and grandparenting (you). I hate to say there's a trend here but one of us has to go out into the world and make a mess.

You are THE Queen of Self-Help and the only woman I know who actually lives, breathes, and believes in the Power of Now. You taught me to meditate, to use silver every day, and how to order tortillas online. Your cooking is legendary and everytime I see a recipe with more than 10 ingredients, I think of you.

I'm sure our paychecks would be retroactively cancelled if anyone knew the hours we spent talking on the phone while on the clock. And so it was fitting, that despite our weekend plans to go to the movies, visit the new wing at the museum, and workout at the gym, what we actually accomplished was melting the hours away in rich conversations over very good wine. And I mean hours.

Thank you for showing me the value of being a blonde and the beauty of being a woman. Your friendship is one of life's greatest gifts.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Is There Beaching in Heaven?

Dear Susan,

We missed you at the beach today. Lisa, Amy, Milly, Greg, John . . . we were all there baking in the sun on South Carolina's gorgeous coast. You always said you preferred "beaching" in the Carolinas over Cape Cod. I agree.

We got together tonight and re-read some of your letters and it's a consensus. You were the hub that kept us together for so many years. You were the one who made sure no one was left behind even though we went our separate ways -- to Atlanta, Columbus, Lansing, New Orleans, Washington, DC, and Houston -- after college.

No one really believes you are gone.

No one wants to believe you were taken from us when you were only 39 and your beautiful daughter was was barely learning to walk. It was the happiest time in your life. We can still hear you planning the details of our next holiday gathering in Lexington or trip to the beach. We can still hear your laugh.

Do they have beaching in heaven? I hope so. I know you would like that.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

California Dreamin'

Dear Tom,

Hard to imagine I'm once again between jobs but that's where I find myself in these dog days of summer. Yesterday I applied to a great position in Menlo Park, CA with a medical device company that treats sinus infections (which can be worse than heart disease at times) and I thought, " . . . now who in the heck do I know in California?"

And you came to mind.

Didn't we meet in Nashville in 1988 at a medical conference on a bus trip to an all night dance-athon? Or was it the closing cocktail party? Anyway, it was the summer of FUN. I had never met a bonafide California guy who knew how to surf and lived in wine country. We had a blast touring Sedona, Sonoma and Slide Rock State Park (before the helmet requirement, thank goodness).

Last I heard (circa 1990) you were applying to grad school at Berkley and considering the Peace Corps once you finished a gig selling physical therapy equipment. I can't recall if you still live in San Francisco, made it to med school . . . heck, I can't even recall your last name, but it was a great, memorable, summer.

Gotta run. I'm starting to blush . . .