Notice, she is wearing her St. Christopher pendant. I usually see her with a lovely diamond necklace. On this night, she felt she might need the patron saint of protection on her side.
And she was mostly correct. I drove us down there with a large tumor sticking out from my tire and almost ran us out of gas by not paying attention to that big yellow light blinking on my dashboard. That's Kris on the right. Kris is not afraid of anything. Thank God she came because she kept us from getting lost at least 16 times and she solved the great, enduring mystery of why my chair wouldn't fit in its bag while her chair had loads of room left over. Duh.
Ravinia oversold this concert in a brutal, feeling like you're being herded to your death, kind of way. We parked off site and waited for our bus. While in line, we unfolded our chairs and started to snack on our picnic goods. Once we arrived, it was necessary to step over and sometimes on people to find a place to sit. We squeezed ourselves in, pulled out our wine, food and patchouli candle and commenced to enjoy the serene beauty of the last days of a Chicago summer.
The girls, of course, had the sense to tell me we needed to leave early to avoid the long bus lines but I wouldn't listen. I was the birthday girl and I was staying until the very last perfect chord had been played. Big mistake. Huge. We spent the better part of an hour chasing taxi cabs. Actually, I chased them while on the phone trying to give the dispatcher our location. The girls just continued to walk in the direction of a main road, which is what one would typically do in Chicago if wanting a cab. Finally, our Serbian cabbie arrived. He didn't understand a word of my broken Spanish or much of my English come to think of it. He indulged us with something in Serbian. We understood the words crazy and taxi.
It was the kind of bar where you get to know everyone else there in an instant. I took notes from various couples, patrons, band members, bikers, golf pros - all telling them I was working on research for my book. That was actually true. I think I even helped the golf pro to get over his ex-girlfriend and agree to start dating the girl he had just made out with the night before. They were a cute young couple. They deserved a chance at love. I love the irony - here I am doling out relationship advice like Oprah while I'm sporting a hole in my heart the size of one tall Armenian.
Margaret has been divorced for a year now. It was a bad ten year run she had. She is free and just now starting to emerge from her shell. She is a great teacher for me in the divine art of being alone. She has built a warm, colorful existence with friends, family, career and travel. And, she stepped out beyond her comfort zone with me to be there for my birthday, armed with St. Christopher, St. Kris and a picnic basket feast for the God's.
The next morning, she looked at me with her deadpan delivery and said, "yes well, happy birthday, I know I feel a year older today." That's okay, she's only 40 and truly, has the best years of her life waiting just around the corner. Thank you ladies - with all my heart, thank you.
|Good Friends, Going the Distance|