I wanted to get together with old friends who made me laugh. And laugh we did. We met at a steak house a couple of hours drive away, but in a central location for all of us. The food was excellent. We laughed so much that others in the restaurant stared and smiled. Our waitress liked us and said we could stay as long as we wanted. She even made a photo of the four of us. One of those friends today, my best friend, was my sister Gay. The other women we have known for thirty years. Before the fun began it was imperative that the serious talk take place. Illness, failing loved ones - we had to discuss, but not for long.
The recent stress in our lives evaporated while we caught up on Linda's new puppy and her husband's venture into making Andy a therapy dog. We found out that Sue's grandson had been recruited by the University of Georgia football team. I learned from the three of them where to eat in Hawaii, the delight of the fragrant air I would breathe when I stepped off the plane, and I revealed that my doctor had a time share in the same place where I will vacation this fall on my first visit to Hawaii. She had told me how beautiful it was and that I would not want to leave there.
We laughed at ourselves, at our need to organize our homes, but our unwillingness to let go. The dread of someone throwing away our most precious possessions sent shudders up our spines.
We all agreed it had been way too long since we had spent time like this, visiting and enjoying each other. When we finally left the restaurant (the staff was preparing for the dinner crowd) we huddled outside, unable to make the final move to leave, showing photos on cell phones and telling more stories about the funny things that happen at funerals. We hugged and then finally climbed into our cars and headed home in different directions.
My spirits had sailed aloft like a helium balloon. I didn't want the day to end. I drove past the street to my house and headed for our little town which was built on a square surrounding the original courthouse that stands waiting to be updated and made safe for gatherings. I parked and walked around the square, stopped in several places searching for a brick with our names and another in memory of my brother, Ray.We bought the bricks to help with funding the refurbishing of the courthouse some years ago.
Downtown, at six o'clock, was quiet as a church. Stores were closed. Everyone had gone home. The big shade trees seemed to hover over me, keeping me safe in the town I now call home, continuing the warm feeling of love I had experienced with my friends.