Under smoky skies and the most godawful-looking mushroom cloud that is perched over the mountains to the north and east of my neighborhood, my dearest friends took me to a birthday brunch at Jar. We sat at a wonderful table in a dimly lit room that was blessedly cool. We ordered pink wine and I had a bloody Mary. Some ordered salads and some ordered omelets. I had two pieces of crusty bread spread with pesto and piled with prosciutto and arugula, topped with two fried eggs and shaved Parmesan. Someone ordered a bowl of French fries that were liberally spiked with garlic and salt and came with a tiny dish of homemade ketchup.
I looked around the table at the array of beauty that is my friends. I am filled with gratitude for the lines on their faces because they mark much laughter and many tears. We have sixteen children between us. One lost her mother at a too-early age and suffers from an often debilitating auto-immune disorder, yet wraps me in her arms for the most enveloping hugs one could imagine. One has recovered from breast cancer with an astonishing resilience yet always has time to dazzle with her formidable intellect and uncanny ability to understand. One has a laugh and a heart as big as Texas and another has known me for over thirty years, each of which has been blessed by her intelligence and warmth and support. Another makes me laugh because of her honesty and brutal sense of humor and another is goodness embodied. Real, true beauty, both inside and out.
And, most importantly, everyone loves to eat good food. We ordered butterscotch pudding, chocolate pudding, peach crisp, chocolate cake and banana cream pie for dessert and ate every single bit. And no one talked about their weight (o.k., maybe I did) or that they "shouldn't" or even "couldn't."
I love my friends. Thank you, ladies.