I haven't been around much this week as I took a few days off to spend time with one of my oldest friends, "L," and her 17-year-old daughter ("S"), who were visiting from Massachusetts.
L and I met in our freshman year of college in the chemistry lab. We were both biology majors at the time and of course chemistry was one of our required subjects. After a few days next to each other in the chem lab mixing up smelly chemicals and causing minor explosions and fires in our immediate area, we were fast friends, and have remained so ever since.
We both hung around with different crowds during college - L started out as a commuter, while I was in the dorm, so we had different groups of friends. Later she did move on campus but was never in the same dorm as I was. But in between all of the craziness we always met up - either in the dining hall, or the cafeteria at the school, or in one of our rooms - and talked about everything under the sun and commiserated about our various problems and traumas.
Thanks to L, I actually managed to get to one Boston Red Sox game, visited the Arnold Arboretum, and went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, none of which I would have gotten around to doing without her influence.
The other friends I hung around with at the time were more apt to drag me out to a bar than to a museum.
Funny thing is, I am not in touch with any of those friends, but L and I have remained close ever since.
Through the years we visited with each other's families, and had rendez-vous in various locations, ranging from Cape Cod to New Jersey. When I met DH and was deep in relationship angst, her mom was the one who said "hold on to him, he's a good one," and I listened.
When L met her husband, they visited us before they were even married and we all got along as if we'd known each other forever. And once they had their daughters, we were part of their lives as well.
Now we're still sharing the joys and commiserating over the hard parts of life - we both have aging parents and are facing the daily challenges that that entails. But through it all we have had each other and that is what is great about a friendship like this. No matter how long it's been between visits, the moment we are together it is as if no time has passed.
So it was great to spend a few days of quality time with L and her older daughter S, as so often our get-togethers have been too brief or full of activities without enough time to really talk.
S is a charming, witty girl who really is fun to be with. I thoroughly enjoyed hanging around with a 17-year-old and understanding her perspective on things. Do you realize she is so young she only barely remembers cassette tapes? And she's never known a world without cell phones? And did you know, if you're 17 and are still in school, you can actually explain how a simultaneous equation is solved in Algebra? (This is something I have never mastered). She also seems to have inherited both of her parents' sense of humor.
We even had time to sit out on our deck and talk about yours and my favorite topic, politics. L has way too many things on her plate to get that involved in the whole subject as a rule, but we did talk about the Iraq war.
Her view was that although we never should have gone there in the first place, she doesn't see how on earth we can extricate ourselves without leaving it in such a huge, dangerous mess that it can never be fixed.
I agreed, and then S chimed in with her opinion and it was great. Her solution to the mess? Send fruit baskets!
"You know how when you've done something, and you're really, really sorry about it? And you want to apologize? You send a fruit basket! Maybe we should just ship all of the Iraquis fruit baskets! Then they'd have something to eat and wouldn't hate us so much!"
Naturally she was kidding.
But you know what? There are probably worse ideas out there!
Speaking of ideas, I wonder whether it's a good or bad idea that Obama has settled on an agreement with Hillary Clinton to have her name placed in nomination at the Democratic convention? As a result, delegates will be declaring themselves for Hillary Clinton during the roll call. Of course, when Hillary herself votes she will then declare her support for Obama and ask her delegates to support him.
But this might backfire and make it look as if the party is divided. I am also more than a little concerned about having both Hillary AND Bill speaking at the convention, given Bill's lukewarm (or perhaps I should say, rather chilly) support for Obama.
I understand that Obama wanted to come to an agreement with Clinton's supporters before the convention to soothe their feelings and make them feel validated.
But maybe it would be better to just send them fruit baskets.