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A Special Lunch in Riverside

Yesterday, I spent a delightful few hours with my friend Holly who was up for a bit of recognition, seeing she had a few days earlier celebrated the momentous mark of birthday number 40. She showed me through their house, pointing out the work she and Patrick had already done, and explaining they were not finished, and then listing their projections for later work. “A house is never done, Holly,” I spoke with incredible and remarkable wisdom gleaned from agedness and the experience of owning—co-owning, I suppose—several houses, and the sorry acknowledgement that we had never been “through” with any of them. House tour over, we moved into our car

I had chosen Riverside and the Mission Inn area for our lunch.Mission Inn Virtual TourHolly and I strolled the pedestrian walkway and through the unique shops situated in this beautiful area. Fall decorations were themed in most of the stores, and both she and I found ourselves edging into the “fall decorating mood,” and declaring to go home, take down so labeled boxes and tackle our homes. “It’s such a hassle to repack all that stuff,” Holly told me at one point. “I had decided to forego fall decorating this year.” But now…after seeing this…She smiled. “Guess I’ll go to our garage and take down the boxes.”

“Have you selected a place for lunch?”

“No,” I answered. “Just some place around here.”

“Good, let’s go to Simple Simon’s. I love to introduce people to this great place. We’ll have to be there before noon, though, for it’s so popular that, for lunch, long lines streak out the door and into the walkway.”

Simple Simon's Bakery & BistroSimon’s it was and Holly was right. It was delicious. We choose to eat in the outdoor patio area under shady trees, and we had identical food—grilled open face sandwiches of eggplant, mushrooms, onions and cheese on a hefty bread slab. Luscious. We split a chunk of carrotcake, healthy of course because of the carrots, and chock full of nuts, with toasted coconut enhancing the generous lobs of frosting.


Then, more, we talked.


I’m honored and downright happy that Holly is my friend. Want to know why?


1. She’s smart.


2. She’s real.


3. She loves God and His business.


4. Our families are intertwined and have been friends for many years—into the generations now.


5. She is scholarly and schooled, a registered, degreed nurse.


6. Because she has two little boys, she has gone from nursing (for now) to be a “stay-at-home” Mom.


7. She scrapped around and found work to do at home to supplement her husband’s income.


8. She is kind and caring. (Latest case in point: One of her friends, because of a threatened pregnancy, is on complete bedrest. Holly just threw a “bedrest party,” with guests, big signs, games, food….the works.)


9. This weekend, in Long Beach, she is walking to raise money for breast cancer research. Twenty-six miles on Friday, and I forget how many more on Saturday.


10. Yesterday, she told me of many nursing experiences absolutely confirming that sometimes people plan the time of their deaths.

11. Occasionally, Holly and I engage in “soul” talk.


12. I think she loves me. She was willing to spend time with me yesterday. (I’ve come to the clear conclusion, while not at all feeling sorry for myself, that as one becomes older, many younger people are so tied up with their own lives, plans and agendas, that they often have little time to give the elderly.)

Edit: 4:45 One more thing about Holly. Yesterday as we ate lunch, she said, “I feel bad about us eating lunch here while Patrick is at work.”

I looked at her in surprise, for Holly is quite an independent girl, not at all weepy, wimpy, or delicate.


“Well, I just feel bad…his eating a sandwich…and we’re having this nice lunch. I don’t like to eat sandwiches at home, so I just feel sorry for Patrick today.”

Wasn’t that sweet. (I don’t think I’m that sweet, for to be truthful, I wasn’t thinking of the sadness of Jerry having to eat a sandwich at home while I was feasting at Simon’s. 😦 )




Edit # 2 8:15 pm Pictures of Holly and her boys are on her cancer walk site.

That was yesterday, an unforgettable few hours with my friend Holly. This morning as Jerry and I concluded our walk, remembering those shops in Riverside, I grabbed up a stray Manzanita limb and carried it home with me. I have visions and plans for that stick. Maybe I’ll take pictures for you.



By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 81 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 64 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

9 replies on “A Special Lunch in Riverside”

Thank you Suzie for coming by my site. Rebecca is doing very well and will be able to go home in a day or two.

Two nights ago, Holly took a party to Rebecca’s hospital room. She took flowers, balloons, animal cookies, and diet Pepsi…because Rebecca didn’t die.

A friend, indeed, she is.


Holly is my friend as well. She most certainly is a special kind of woman. One of a kind. She is real and caring. I hope to have her in my life until we are both aged and silver-haired, sharing our memories, sitting in our rocking chairs drinking tea (for Holly) &
coffee (for me).
I am praying for Rebecca’s full recovery.
God bless you and yours


Holly sounds like the kind of friend that you would want to go through life with. And it is a great thing that you truly treasure your friend Holly as much as you do. What a nice person. Gotta go. Good night and Godbless.


Shirley, your friend Holly sounds like a beautiful person. Spending time with friends is one of life’s greatest joys, coming home to family – even better. Your pics are great, I have always wanted to visit California, San Francisco and the Mission Area are top of the list; your pics make me long for it even more.
Thank you


Larry, of course I’m not going to whatck anybody with my manzanita. (Wish I knew how to make a link in the comments…I would link you to Wikipedia on manzanita.) Manzanita is a bush with reddish colored wood. I’m going to decorate with it, not hit Jerry with it!

Glad to hear from you. I’ve been worried about you.


I love your pictures. It is good to read your stuff again. I have been gone a bit. Forgot how much I enjoyed this. Hope you and Jerry are doing well. What is a Manzanita limb? I hope you aren’t going to whack anyone with it.



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