Sick Day, Old Days

(Old friends, at Benaroya Hall for the Seattle Symphony, 2016. Ignore my eyes)

(Old friends, at Benaroya Hall for the Seattle Symphony, 2016. Ignore my eyes)

Today we acknowledge something, although I'm not sure what. I've been feeling marginal for the past few days, a slight cough that pops up in the evening, some throat scratchiness, some chest aching. I was far worse a year ago, when I finally dragged myself to an urgent care and dropped around $500 on meds and copays, which I very much resented.

I would have survived without intervention, I felt, and I think so. But it wouldn't have been as much fun.

This time, nah. This is all about being proactive, not getting out more than I need to, maybe rest up a little just in case. Skip choir rehearsal, etc. I spent four hours in the car yesterday, driving John around and dropping off forgotten stuff at JK's work, and somehow that seems to have been a questionable choice. It wore me out a little, but again--we're just being careful. This is a nasty flu season and no one here is the least bit interested in experiencing that.


We spent a nice evening last Saturday at dinner with old friends, friends who are now moving into an interesting category. I'd say that they're more like family, although that's an easy thing to toss off and expect people to understand, and it's not quite like that. It did occur to me, though, that it was some sort of statement about relationships.

There's an emotional overlay here, some significant life events bubbling away in the background, although I don't know what that has to do with anything, even if I suspect there's something. I can't speculate, just noting.

In the winter of 1974, when I was 15 years old, there was a city-wide open audition for a variety show that would be produced by--and starring--Dick Van Dyke. I've mentioned it before. It was a big deal to everyone who had a show biz bug, and certainly any of those who held Van Dyke in a special heart place. That was a lot of us.

So lots of high schoolers auditioned, just to sing a song or do a dance in front of an idol. Not really expecting any positive results, a spot in the show, but just a moment to remember.

Not me, not so much. I didn't want to meet Dick Van Dyke; I wanted to be on a stage with him, and here was an opportunity. I took it pretty seriously, and it worked out well.

But there was a girl from another high school at that audition, just getting her 4-5 minutes in front of the great man, just for the experience. We may have noticed each other; hard to say. There were a lot of people, and I was there for at least eight hours.

She actually came back, when the show was produced, to see it. She remembered me.

Three years later, my freshman year in college, I transferred up to northern Arizona for school, and there I met her. She was a fellow theater major, she was cute and perky with red hair, and I had a big crush for a while. We settled into a solid friendship that lingered after our paths wandered away, and after JK and I were married in July 1983, as we were making our way up to Seattle, we stopped in San Francisco, where my friend had settled.

We spent a day there, visiting and meeting a new guy she'd just started seeing. Three weeks later, we were trying to get used to our new apartment and foolishly accepting a particularly spectacular autumn as an indication of how easy it would be to adjust to the Northwest.

Three weeks later, she and this new guy got engaged. Kind of a whirlwind thing.

And we kept in touch, and a few years later the two of them, plus two little people, moved up here from the Bay area. John would be born a couple of months later, and our kids would become playmates for a few years before lives took over. We were close but not neighbors, and sometimes years would go by.

But they were always there, just down I-5, and always part of our history, and here we are. It's been 44 years since that Van Dyke audition, 41 since my friend and I first met in Flagstaff, 34 since we stopped by San Francisco, 27 since they moved up to Seattle...they add up. Our youngest kids are pushing 30, and we find ourselves in a slightly different place.

It had been a couple of years since our last time together (the above picture), so we celebrated a little, and because there were other guests we got to tell our origin story again. It played out easily, few contradictory memories to mess up the process, and it was easy to look at my friend and remember her teenage self, and mine, after all these years.


Chuck SigarsComment