Monday, February 20, 2012

One is Silver, the Other is Gold.

"Make New Friends but Keep the Old, One is Silver, the Other is Gold"

This little ditty from my Girl Scout days rings merrily through my mind as I think back over the activities of last few days. In October, 2010, I attended my 50 Year High School reunion, the joy of which put me back in touch with people I had always had affection for, but had not seen for half a century. Ellen and I were not close friends in high school, but did know one another, and have other mutual acquaintances. She has since become closer friends with an old friend of mine, and so the circle remains unbroken.
Dave, Diana, Ellen and Rex
I was so happy to see Diana at the reunion dinner because although we were friends in high school and had lived in the same neighborhood while we were raising our children, we hadn't kept in touch. She was always one of my favorite people and she hasn't changed a bit. Ellen and her hubby were sitting with Diana and Dave, and I, being alone, asked if I could join them. I remember seeing Ellen at our 30 year reunion, but didn't visit with her much, so it was good to catch up on our lives. How could we all be so close to 70?

Thanks to the miracle of the Internet, Ellen and I have kept in touch, and last November Paul and I linked up with Ellen and Rex at the Heard Museum, in Phoenix, where Rex is a docent. He graciously led us on a most interesting and comprehensive private tour of the Heard, which is a long standing venerable institution of Southwestern anthropology. (See "Giving Thanks" 11/23/11).

Ellen's close friend Cindy is working in the Tacoma area for a few months, and since February is such a beautiful time (tongue in cheek) to visit the Northwest, Cindy and I convinced Ellen she should run away from home for a few days and come and visit us. There is nothing like leaving the sunny, warm desert in winter and coming north for a dose of total hydration and grey sky therapy!

Ellen's flight arrived at 12:30 on Wednesday.. and we began our "non-stop, do -it-all, see-it-all" marathon, my part of which ran until Saturday afternoon, passing the baton to Cindy who will carry it, with Ellen until Ellen's return flight leaves on Monday!


From the airport we drove up through West Seattle and found the “West Seattle Fish House” -a little hole in the wall fish & chips place I had seen listed on Urban Spoon, which features to die for very lightly breaded non-greasy succulent fish and perhaps the best shrimp chowder I have ever tasted in my life.

We had a short wait for the Fauntleroy Ferry, were soon boarded, and on our way to Vashon Island. Driving the length of Vashon Island is always a pleasure any time of year, in any weather, and Wednesday afternoon was no exception.  We enjoyed a cup of coffee at the Luna CafĂ© which is the Vashon "Occupy" headquarters, and the bulletin board offered an immense amount of information regarding the struggles our 99% are facing.  Warm and re-caffeinated we discovered “Giraffe”, a most wonderfully stocked fair trade import shop. Laden with exotic purchases, and the sun quickly sinking toward the horizon, we hurried to the south end of the island and soon boarded the 5 o’clock ferry to Pt Defiance. Our timing was pretty good, as we were able to catch pictures of the Narrows Bridge in the setting sun from several vantage points around the 5 mile drive loop.
Ellen, outside Van Lierope Garden Market in Sumner.

Thursday found us off to Sumner in the late morning, where we made my obligatory visit to Van Lierope Garden Market along with the cute little shops on Main. On the way back toward Tacoma, we made a stop at Watsons Nursery for a light lunch, and to give my desert-dweller guest some exposure to a garden center par-excellence.
Watsons Nursery, a garrdeners delight and visual treat any time of year!

The Chihuly ceiling over the bridge
We spent the afternoon “doing Tacoma”, as Ellen wanted to soak up the eye candy sight of every bit of Chihuly glass she could find. Parking in the Washington State History Museum parking lot afforded us the luxury of hiking in a big circle, first across the Chihuly Bridge to the Museum of Glass, then back to drool over the Pendleton blankets in the Museum gift shop, into the beautifully restored Union Station (now a  federal courthouse), up the UW-Tacoma staircase to the UW library which houses the luscious orange Chihuly chandelier, and finally, down the alley and into the rear entrance of "The Harmon", a noted micro brewery where Ellen was introduced to “real beer”,  and trooper that she is, admitted  she liked the Brown’s Point Ale.
Inside Union Station looking out at the dockside lofts.


Friday we drove over to Lakewood to try and locate an apartment building Ellen lived in 40 years ago. We did find it,  and it is actually still standing- albeit a little worse for wear. We picked up a loaf of full grain German rye bread at Hess bakery, along with some wursts and pate for lunch yesterday. A drive back thru Steilacoom and along the water to Chambers Bay reminded my guest of how beautiful the Pac NW can be, even on a drippy, February day. A short stop at home affforded us an opportunity for a quick lunch before heading down to our little Harbor, visits to art galleries, and our wonderful new Historical Museum. When the museum closed at four, we met Paul and Ellen’s friend Cindy at Anthony’s for happy hour, gorging on Hawaiian ahi-nachos, artichoke crab dip and gin and tonics! Ellen accompanied her friend Cindy home that evening for a girls slumber party, and Paul and I vegged in front of the TV.
Cindy and Ellen backed by lovely Gig Harbor

Saturday at 10 am, Ellen, Cindy and another friend Diana from Seattle arrived for an all day girls “Clay Play-day” breaking only for a simple lunch of root soup, made from vegetables that had been languishing in my fridge. Beets gave it this breathtakingly beautiful gem-like ruby color, and seasoned with cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and garam masala, it was perfect for yesterdays cold, blustery wet weather. Our funny desert dweller said she didn’t think anyone would want to go anywhere or do anything while she was here because it was so rainy.. We just laughed at her and told her “Welcome to the Pac NW”!!!
Cindy, Myself and Cindy's friend Diana- taken with Ellens new iPhone- a little fuzzy, but you get the idea!.

Sharing ones home with a friend for a few days visit affords us the opportunity of getting to know one another in ways not possible during casual encounters at club meetings, lunches, or reunion dinners. Ellen is sweet, and funny, and a wonderful house guest. We got to know each other pretty well in our 3 + days together, and I look forward to a long and enduring friendship with her. She introduced me to her friend Cindy, and Cindy in turn, to her friend Diana. I'll see Diana and Cindy in a couple weeks to glaze all the lovely pottery pieces the three girls made yesterday, and then again when delivery day comes.  I can think of no greater pleasure than sharing my passion of pottery with others who are open to new experiences, and Ellen brought me that gift. Sometimes it is hard to kick start myself to get back into the studio this time of year, but I am so energized by the enthusiasm shown by this one old friend and two new friends, that tomorrow I will turn on the heat early in the morning, layer on some warm clothes and get myself busy.... and hum a little tune "Make new friends, but keep the old..."