Lunch with a Friend

Lunch with a Friend

What is more fun than a long lunch with an old friend?

Recently, I had the pleasure of spending most of the day with an old friend from my school
days. We met at Peking, a Chinese restaurant, but we both arrived early before it opened. So, I got
into her car, and we chatted for 20 minutes, with the windows down and a small breeze
keeping us from sweating too much as the sun beat down on her automobile, until we saw
them open the door for a customer.

We got out of our hot car and walked with our slow, “older- woman gait” to the restaurant
door, which took both of us to open. It was a cool, comfortable-looking place with plenty of
space since it had just opened, and we were among the first guests.

We sat in a comfortable leather booth. And we chatted and laughed, ate delicious food, and
talked and laughed some more. At one point, Carolyn said, “I can see from this window a
place across the parking lot called Gelati Celestine. Would you like to go over there after we
finish here?”

“Yes!” I said, “I would love to have a gelato with you!”

“Oh, I know why I love you! Most of my friends would have said no to that offer,” Carolyn

We talked about everything, from our school days to our early married days to our first
pregnancies. We had children who were friends and who had many adventures together over their teenage years. Her oldest daughter was a live-in babysitter for my younger boys one summer in Newport. Now, that same daughter is going to turn 65 soon. We have been to each other’s children’s weddings, and we commiserated during her divorce more than 40 years ago. She says she will never forget her shock when I called to tell her I was going to divorce 20 years ago. She said she never would have believed that could happen. We know a lot about each other. And we had the same friends, foes, and heroes. It was such fun to finish each other’s sentences. Of course, we did this partly because we could not remember how to finish them by ourselves. Especially names!

When you reach a certain age, names can become elusive. You can be speaking about
someone whom you know well, maybe even a famous person– you KNOW their name. But
when it comes time to USE the name, it is gone. It may be floating around in the air over your head; it may even seem to float through your brain, and yet you cannot grab it by the tail or any other part! Like a diaphanous, elusive object, it has no substance, it is only a word.

Frustration ensues. If you are with a friend, it can become an amusing game to see who can
come up with the name or the word. And when one of us DID find the missing word, we would
cheer as if we had just scored a goal.

We continued like that, talking with each other through the entire afternoon. Rambling on
about all sorts of things, including our age-related challenges. It just takes longer to get out of
a chair, but when you are doing it with a friend, it is funny rather than annoying.  As we
walked to Carolyn’s car, we must have looked like two slow-moving older women. But in our
hearts, we were young and vibrant. An afternoon of loving friendship, laughter, and lavish comestibles
does wonders for the spirit.

Carolyn and me many, many years ago

My friend drove me across the parking lot to my car. Once inside, I rolled down the windows
(read: pushed the button to cause the windows to go down automatically), turned on the air
conditioning at full blast, loaded my book on Audible to play during the hour-and-a-half drive
home, and fastened my seatbelt. I used my GPS system to find my way out of Richmond and
onto Route # 64 to go home to Charlottesville. My ride home was over so fast I could hardly
believe my eyes when I saw the Shadwell exit. I will have to do that again soon. What a great
way to spend a day. Hopefully, each of you has at least one friend like that, and better still,
many! Call them up and arrange to see them. You will be glad you did.

Copyright©. 2024 Bonnie B. Matheson

4 thoughts on “Lunch with a Friend

  1. Oh, Bonnie, this does ring true for me and it is a wonderful feeling to have a number of friends from many years ago! Aren’t we so very fortunate ??

  2. Sounds like you two lovely ladies had a lovely afternoon! Yes, it is so very special to catch up with old friends….. I’m trying to do the same. Our lives are full of these beautiful memories and it’s wonderful to share them again with each other?

  3. Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
    Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel.
    (Hamlet 1.3.62-3), Polonius to Laertes

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