On my trip to Tallahassee and to Weaverville, I discovered a lot of things, some less obvious than others. The most obvious is that seeing friends in person sure beats Skype or any other technology out there. Meeting up with friends that know me, with whom I have a history, and who understand the decisions I’ve made in the past couple of years means everything. I was fortunate to move from one person to another, sharing meals, lots of coffee and non-stop conversation. The Friday before I left Tallahassee, I went to Kim’s house for dinner with Kim, Todd and Pablo. After months of hearing about Pablo, his trials with the Florida High School Athletic Association, and the final decision that allowed him to play soccer, it was a real treat to meet him. The photo is taken by him so will be remembered by me as the “Pablo photo.” I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I should have in spite of having a brand new camera which has so far never been used!!
Kim is a wonderful cook and, with Todd’s help (while we drank wine and talked with several teenage boys who stopped in for a bit), she made a Nigella Lawson recipe of shrimp and black rice. A beautiful salad from the garden and it was a perfect meal. We sat around the fire pit talking before dinner — talked about all sorts of things mundane and critically important (at least to us). I was never more comfortable visiting her home and began to realize the obvious importance of friends who know me better than I know myself!
The next morning Robin and I went to breakfast and then shopping. We decided to get a cup of coffee and found a newly opened coffee shop, Eternal Grounds. (The photo is Robin looking pensive!) The name alone should have tipped us off that this was a church-run shop and if that didn’t, the logo sure should have. Upon ordering and paying for the café au lait and latte we each received “words of the day,” which was a parchment-like paper rolled and tied with a ribbon with a biblical passage on it. I was blessed often for my patience and for coming in and finally received the coffee. It was absolutely delicious, the barista certainly knew what she was doing (and was so cheerful throughout), and I found the marketing concept quite amazing. Robin and I marveled at the fact that coffee would be the vehicle through which to “spread the word,” and wondered if the location would make a difference to its survival. Time will tell I guess.
That night, Robin and John invited my cousin, Jill, to join us for another southern dinner — I think my friends saw that I needed fresh seafood — of grilled grouper (from Southern Seafood) and asparagus. We had a wonderful time relaxing, eating, enjoying the perfect weather, and just being in each other’s company. My dog, Sydney, also thought that she should have fresh seafood as did Ernie, the large black German Shepherd, so it felt just like being at home. I never thought I’d miss southern cooking! I had grits at least three times while I was there.
Tallahassee is a small town even though it is the capital of Florida and, population-wise, a good-sized city. I met Kathy, my neighbor, friend, and realtor, at Starbucks early and as I entered the shop, ran into a long-time acquaintance. Then I sat down and the man sitting next to me looked familiar — Dennis, the former Dean of Flagler College in Tallahassee. It turns out that Dennis was born and raised in Honesdale and was very familiar with where I live in Lords Valley. Small town, small world. There are lots of kinds of friendship — friendship of convenience, transitional friendship, locational friendship, work friendship. (I have purposely left out book club friendship because that will be a totally separate blog.) There is no substitute for dear friends who will drop everything to sit for a few minutes and catch up — there’s nothing better.