And stay right here ’cause these are the good old days”
— Carly Simon
My old friend Kip brought his family to town this week, and tonight we all descended on the Old Spaghetti Factory down at the foot of Broad Street. Marni, who was a buddy of Kip’s even before I met her — she was one of those younger kids, a freshman, when Kip and I were sophomores in high school — jumped through firy hoops to get off work at the book store early so she could be part of the soirée.
There’s not a big story to tell about the evening, or rather, there is a very deep and rich story of why Kip and Ami brought their beautiful children over the mountains but it is their story and I am not at liberty to tell it. Else I would. The smaller story is that Marni and Kip got to reconnect a little bit over plates of pasta after not seeing each other for I think fifteen years. They’ve changed as they must inevitably change — we are all getting older — but it is my experience that both of them are the kind of people with whom, after a decade or so, it is possible to pick right up where you left off.
It went by too fast. A baby and a toddler and the kids and the arrival of plates of food kept us all hopping throughout the dinner, and I don’t think there was a single moment when all of us were seated. But we had fun catching up and just generally being merry, something Angela and I have long recognized that Kip and Marni are both good at. Ami we’re just getting to know, but she married Kip so you know she’s got a wicked sense of humor. Their toddler Claire, two tomorrow (Happy Birthday, little princess!), spent most of the evening in some position of adjacency to Ami (next to, on lap of, on shoulder of, etc.) and they brought along Ami’s niece Abbie, who held a fourteen-year-old’s special whammy charm over their four-year-old son Will. Mara felt honored to be able to sit next to Marni and show her her new shell necklace.
So we didn’t talk deep and late into the night — what made me think we would be doing that? — but it was a time I wouldn’t trade for anything. It ended abruptly, too, as gatherings of families with youngsters often do. Time on the kid-clock runs out parabolically and you suddenly have to get them home and started on their routines. We managed to catch the last rays of a sunset from the Sculpture Park across the street and take a few pictures, and then — bizzanggg! — we all drove off in different directions.
My tendency toward melancholy makes me want to rue afresh all the years when we weren’t in touch, Marni and Kip and I, and the “lateness of the hour”, as it were, but it feels right to simply enjoy and savor the time we had tonight, and be grateful that I have great people in my life, right now, today, that I once thought I’d forever lost, along with a new jewel or two, too.