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Friends

A Friend Story

When I was young, I believe I enjoyed and appreciated them, but I’m quite sure that here in my older years I more intensely cherish my friends, recognize their importance, and have an understanding of how dear they are to me. A double break was a couple of weeks ago when we were with our friends Don and Abigail O’Keefe, returning to their home after visiting with our dying friend Bob Robison and his wife, Shirley, that we chanced on two more friends. It happened this way.

“What shall we do now?” was the question after we had lunch, and after we had lightly discussed the matter and had decided there wasn’t time to go to San Francisco. We were nearing the town of Benicia, situated on the shores of the bay when I saw a sign that indicated some historical significance. “Have you explored here?” I asked.

No, they hadn’t, so Don turned off the highway, maneuvered the quaint streets and parked in the historical district, a tree-lined section of this charming small town. Turns out that at one time in the early days of the settling of California Benicia was the state capitol. We paid the small admission price, and by passionate people were given a delightful tour of the facility and of the Victorian house next door.

As I rounded a corner in the garden area,  I saw that strewn across the ancient brick sidewalk were small red balls that appeared to be some kind of fruit; a variety unfamiliar to me. “That’s the fruit from our Strawberry tree,” one of the guides told me when I inquired, and then I came to the wide area where leaves as large as two of my hands together were spread in a cool way on the cement.

It was as I was walking about in these gardens of the home that I began wishing our friends who live in Benicia could be with us. Had we  known ahead we would be prowling about their town, we would have called them, I’m sure.

Back in the car we were heading down to the water, when Jerry said, “There’s Sister Fertado right now.” We looked, and sure enough she was striding down the street. Don made a u-turn and as we pulled up beside her, Abby rolled down the window. “Hi!” we said to our friend. Startled, she smiled widely, we explained what was going on, and could we get together for coffee or something, and could she recommend a place?

Her husband was walking on another street, she called him, and soon we were deep in conversation, seated together, coffee drinks in hand.

It was a multifaceted day; one of history, of friends, of flowers and leaves and a strawberry tree, of sorrow, of joy, of discovery, and of the happy chance meeting with the Fertados of Benicia.

When I was young, I believe I enjoyed and appreciated them, but I’m quite sure that here in my older years I more intensely cherish my friends, recognize their importance, and have an understanding of how dear they are to me.