Last night I met some old friends—Lynne, Sherry, Joyce, Perian, Cindy, and Peggy (and her husband, Mark)—for dinner at Cook’s Lobster House on Bailey’s Island. Cook’s is on a spit of land, and the ocean surrounds the restaurant on 3 sides. While we were eating, the sun set in a clear sky, but as dusk came, a chill mist rolled in, bringing swiftly moving gray clouds. A very, very beautiful place. I ordered a fish sandwich that was so large and so fresh that I could hardly believe the price—$10—and that included fries. Unfortunately, the fries were only so-so—lukewarm and probably not fresh cut. However, with such good fish, the fries were beside the point.
In some ways, the food was beside the point, and for someone who is as obsessed with food as I am, that is quite a statement. I have known most of these women for 20 years. We were all part of Maine Media Women, an organization that supports women in all aspects of the media. Because of the distance—many of us live over an hour away from each other—and busy schedules, we have often been able to meet only once a year. Nevertheless, after knowing each other for such a long time, we have a history together.
However, life brings change, and at 55, I certainly understand this. Two women in the group—Lynne and Sherry—will be moving. Lynne’s move is not that far, and it is likely that we will be able to get together with her at least once a year. But Sherry is moving across country, and while she might come back to visit us, she cannot be a regular part our gatherings, the way she has been.
Still, as much as I understand that things change, last night was bittersweet, a breaking up of the “fellowship,” so to speak. There was an underlying sadness as we ate, even though we joked and laughed and were lively until we said our goodbyes and posed for pictures, at which point there were some tears. One part of our lives was ending, just as another part was beginning for Lynne and Sherry.
And so it goes. We come together and support each other as best we can. After 20 years of knowing a group of friends, it seems as though the routine is going to continue forever, but of course it doesn’t. It can’t. Impermanence is a permanent part of life. Nothing lasts forever. Deep down, we all know this, and we try not to think about it too much.
I’m going to end on a more upbeat note, with a little account of an exchange between Perian and me. Before going to Cook’s, we went to Perian’s house for drinks and appetizers. I brought a bottle of Chardonnay and some cashews. When it comes to being frugal, both Perian and I are peas in a pod, as the saying goes, and I don’t remember how the topic came up, but it went something like this:
Me: That Chardonnay is not too bad.
Perian: It’s very good.
Me: Worth the $3.99 I paid for it, don’t you think?
Perian: $3.99?! Where did you get it?
Me: Trader Joe’s.
Perian: I thought you had paid at least $5 for it.
The last of the big-time spenders, as my mother might have said. Oh, Perian and I had a good laugh over that one, the kind of laugh you only can have when you’ve known someone for a long time.
Addendum: For some silly reason—chalk it up to my aging brain—I forgot to mention that Perian’s beautiful daughter, Laney, joined us. Sorry, Laney! You were the brightest star of the gathering.