So in the midst of this week’s yesiness, I had another opportunity to jump in and have an unexpected experience. My childhood friend, Craig (who sometimes shows up here as Happy the Man) was in town from Austin with his family. I haven’t seen Craig in 23 years, even though his mom and my folks live across the street from each other. He has a memory of me standing in his mom’s driveway holding a baby on my hip. Baby girl is 25, and I barely remember that (then again, I don’t remember much from that time). Craig took a pretty different life path than I did, so not much to keep us connected for about twenty years.
Craig and I went to high school together. I referred to him as my little brother, which was a joke, since he’s 6’5″ tall. We shared lockers, we hung out, we played guitars. He was fun and comforting and really tall. He visited us in Chico and we do have a good story to tell about tubing on the river and one or perhaps two (Steve?) of the guys were dared to remove their shorts. And then one of them (Craig?) lost them. I made the bet, and I owed them dinner. Or so the story goes.
Several years ago, Craig reached out to me through Facebook and Twitter, before I knew what they were. I saw that we had a few more connections, and also saw that he recently married someone I was pretty sure I wanted to know. Three years ago Craig and Laura were in Placerville, an hour away, and we didn’t make it happen. This time we had three chances, and it DID happen.
First up, meeting at the studio, and lunch at Tower Cafe.
There is something not quite right about this photo. I mean besides the fact that we both have gray hair. But what is right is that when you are with old friends, who know the real you, there is nothing but truth to be told. Yup, still comforting. Instant reconnect, great lunch and conversation.
On Tuesday Craig invited us up to Placerville to meet Laura at her brother’s restaurant, Smith Flat House, and hear Laura and her daughter sing. We were pretty busy, and I said we’d try. Of course, I had just written that darn “yes” post, so I had to try a little harder. Steve was a good sport and left work and his deadlines to drive up the hill, not knowing really what we were getting into. Making the trek would mean a long drive home, extra work and an extra push the next day. I also forgot to record the MLB All Stars Game, which turned out not to be an issue at all.
Why did I ever doubt? The story of Craig and Laura is magical…it includes a second chance, six kids (her three daughters, his three sons, all grown, all exactly the same age), a love of music, God, art, Anne Lamott and life. She’s 6′, he’s 6′ 5″ (yes, I know I already said that…but it’s a defining factor). This will make you believe in love that’s meant to be, folks. The story of Laura and her brother is more magic, but it’s her story to tell. It includes wondering, discovery, recognition, acceptance and a whole lot of joy. And for the night, we got to be in the middle of it.
Still, the scale seems off here. Perhaps I need another glass of wine. We sat in the courtyard and noshed on grilled artichokes, wine and beer. Laura and I took about ten minutes to delve into motherhood, womanhood (and what Maya Angelou shared with her!!!!!), finally believing in your craft as you enter your 50s. You know, the real stuff. By the way, Laura writes at storyscape, so take a moment and check out her photos and her writing…you’ll see what I mean.
Craig’s sweet and funny son, Cameron. I cannot stop looking at this photo. Love my friends, this is love. Keep in mind that my primary memories of Craig were as a teenager. I’ve never known him as a grown up (though he still has a very active inner child). This takes my breath away.
Ah, yes. This is it. The tall and the not-so-tall.
We moved inside to discover our food (flatbread with nectarine, proscuitto, goat cheese and arugula!) a little more wine, and Laura and her daughter Anna, singing. It was surround sound all the way–as in being surrounded by emotion and love and pride and delight. John’s family, which is now Laura’s family, and also Craig’s family–and gosh, they even treated us as family–was a thrilled as we were. We all felt, as Anna said after her last song, “I belong here.” By the way, you can get a taste of Anna’s music here. What you have to know is that besides Craig being tall, another defining characteristic is how much he loves and admires Joni Mitchell. I kept looking at him across the table, as he was watching Laura and Anna, and thinking “Wouldn’t it be great if we all knew our lives would turn out just right, like this?”
I left for the drive home (which didn’t turn out to be so long) thinking that I just got a batch of new friends, and a new perspective. All that, from just saying yes.
I wrote this post a few days ago, and what has occurred to me that this didn’t happen just because I said yes. It took a whole lot of yesiness. Steve agreed to drive with me. Craig wanting to see me (and making the first move). Craig’s family agreeing to include us in their event. Laura’s family agreeing to include us. Laura taking the risk to perform in public with Anna after four years. Anna saying yes to the guitar she found in the dumpster. John and Cathy saying yes with love to Laura. Craig and Laura saying yes to Match.com. It’s like a perfect storm of yes to make a moment like this. Go figure.
And YES!, a trip to Austin in in our future. Soon!