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Monday, July 21

ya gotta have friends

So, this morning I met with an old friend. A very old friend. We have been in each other's lives for over 30 years. He was barely out of his teens and I was rapidly departing my 20's but we became friends and confidantes nonetheless. I was the maid of honor at his wedding. We have had many late night phone conversations over the years, often as one of us enters or endures a break or bruise of the heart. Sometimes we talk as parents. Sometimes it is political, our views dovetailing as always. We are sounding boards to each other, not debaters. We helped each other through divorces, provided reassurances as we each tried again and eventually succeeded. This is a friendship of the soul, a precious thing. He lives in Seattle now and we haven't seen each other in 15 years. Oh, we talk and e-mail and follow each other's blogs, but we have not been eye-to-eye for a long time. We hugged each other tight this morning and laughed at the absurdity of it all and fell back into our old patterns of wordplay, feeling the comfort of not having to explain. It was joyful. Russell came to meet the "famous Michael" and Michael teased that he expected Russell to arrive in a beam of light. And I sat between these men I love, listened to them, watched them and it was perfection.

After Michael left, we walked to our cars and realized neither of us had brought house keys. Not a problem. Another friend, Joleen, had a spare. She handed it over with a hug and without one teasing word about our ineptitude. Love her.

A few hours later, pulling a cart out of the row at Wegmans, there is Anne and her beautiful daughter, Zena. More hugs. Catching up while people wheeled their carts around us. I hate when other people do that, but there we were, unwilling to break the thread with choreography, We shared happy news of a baby and we dished art shows. Anne is warm and real and it always feels good to be with her. We promised to make a coffee date and I caught up with Russell before he could buy too many kitchen gadgets.

Stir fry for dinner, the rice was simmering and Jake went barking to the door. I heard a familiar voice say "Jakey, go get you master" and there was another friend and neighbor, Suzanne, with a plastic tub of raspberries from her garden because she thought we'd like them. What makes one person (Suzanne) do nice things when she thinks about them and another person (me) think of many nice things but seldom do them?

It was a day that I thought would be special because of one friend but became even more so because of this star spray of friendships. A hug from someone you've missed, a key held safe, laughing eyes and true affection, sweet raspberries in a plastic cup.

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