Saturday, February 4, 2017

Old Friends, Park Benches, and Book-ends

A week ago, I'd have been making cookies for our trip to the Keys.  This morning, I'm making a quick bread with leftover cranberry sauce that we had with our grilled pork tenderloin on Monday night.  In the past days since my college roommate left, I haven't had time to write about the visit. 

Let me take some time this morning to capture some memories before they slide away:

--My friend came on a Tuesday.  When I got home, I made a beef stroganoff, so that she'd have something to eat if she didn't like the other things we made.

--I needn't have worried.  She's not a picky eater.  We also had a chicken mole poblano that was unusual but delicious--a bit of heat, but not too spicy.  We had a grilled, salt-packed pork tenderloin on our last evening together--we ate outside, which was lovely, albeit chilly.

--We didn't end up having a picnic in the Keys.  I had planned to bring the bread, condiments, meats, and cheese separately, so that our sandwiches wouldn't get soggy.  I forgot the bread.  My spouse suggested that we eat at Mrs. Mac's Kitchen.  It has a lot of artifacts from old Florida as decorations, which we knew would fascinate our friend.

--We also had fruit milkshakes at Robert Is Here, one of South Florida's oldest roadside fruit and veggie markets.  Yum.

--We did more than eat.  My spouse served as tour guide when I had to work.  My spouse and friend went to the Coral Castle, which she had heard about on some sci-fi show.  While they were that far south, they took the Tamiami Trail west, and stopped at the welcome center that's halfway across the state.  They explored various beaches.

--I enjoyed our trip to the Keys, although it was a lot of driving.  My spouse took the motorcycle down, and my friend and I drove in the car.  On the way back, my friend rode on the bike; my spouse drove the bike, and my friend took all sorts of pictures as they went over bridges.   The motorcycle is really the way to see the Keys.

Then my spouse headed back, while my friend and I meandered.  We stopped at a T-shirt shop that had signs at every corner telling us that we were on camera, that the prices were the prices, and to be sure of what we wanted before we came to the counter.  My friend wanted cheap T-shirts so we braved the customer-unfriendly attitude.

We also stopped at an set of shops that looked like it was run by an artists' collective; we had a great time chatting with a woman who ran a store, while she mixed up a scented oil concoction for my friend.

My friend had wanted a picture of a pelican, so we stopped at a biker-friendly tiki bar that's at the upper end of Key Largo and has a huge property with lots of water around.  And there, finally, she found a pelican who stayed still long enough for pictures--and in fact, seemed to pose with its head tilted back in a way I've never seen a pelican hold its body.

--I also enjoyed Sunday, a rainy Sunday full of church, soup, and a trip to Ikea.  After all the Saturday driving, it was good to have down time.

--We had great conversations.  I enjoyed hearing about the women's march and about life in Butte, Montana where she lives.  She's much more of a free spirit than I am; for example, she travelled to the women's march knowing where she'd spend the first night, but not the other four nights.  She mentioned she was on a shoe-string budget, so it wouldn't have surprised me if she planned to sleep under a bridge.  But she's resourceful and outgoing, and she found lodging.  It made for great stories--I love being reminded that there are lots of other ways to live a life, and that we do exist in a generous universe.

--My friend still works in radio, and we had fun planning shows, just like we did back when we were in college.  This morning, I'm remembering the Simon and Garfunkle song about old friends who sat on a park bench like book-ends.  The song has this line, written by a very young Paul Simon:  "How terribly strange to be 70."

It's also terribly strange to be in our 50's--in some ways, like no time has passed at all.  But all too soon, we, too, will be in our 70's.

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