Sunday, March 23, 2003

Simply The Best

Friends and starlight. We had another one of those evenings that make life sweet. James and Deanne came, with two bottles of wine and an appetite for fun. Max led the tour, holding Deanne's hand. He took her to the garden and the playset, to meet the chicas and to the "Lego room." James tried to keep up, but as usual Max proved to be the more ardent suitor.

Geoff started the coals, and I had dinner marinating in the 'fridge. We munched on celery, chips and guacamole. We took James' wine tasting challenge. I stand by my opinion: The 2 Buck Chuck is smooth, with an essence of berries and a sensual color of red with an infusion of violet. The Coppola had too much wood and bite for my taste. Or was it the other way around? After the first glass, I certainly can't tell!

We ate our dinner under the stars. Alex and Max rolled themselves in the sleeping bag on the lawn. Deanne and I toasted our corn over the bright, hot coals. We talked about jobs and vacations, about land and agriculture, travel and cooking. Like all our visits with them, it was relaxed and interesting; their company is a pleasure. Deanne is a new friend, yet her open kindness, her willingness to participate, her sincerity, make her as comfortable to us as an old friend. James is an old friend, a dear friend for many years.

It wasn't just the fun of our evening together that makes life sweet, it was the pleasure and comfort of being with people who listen to our children and overlook the interruptions, the clutter and chaos of our family life. I must single them out for being exceptional, because there are so many cliches and jokes about friends without children and their low tolerance for friends with children. I certainly don't impose my kids on every acquaintance, but neither do I look for places to stash and store the children, when we want to socialize.

So, when James calls and says "Hey guys, what's up? Lets get together," I am grateful to have his friendship. He wants to hang out at the park, play Marco Polo in the pool, fly kites, race cars, play arcade games and even let Max hold his girlfriend's hand on a lovely mountain hike. What a guy! Deanne is so patient and full of praise. James is an uncle, attentive and loving. I have a photograph I love of William as a toddler with James; they are together brushing their teeth. Only the good friends stick around for the good times and the good, but messy, family times too.

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