Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Sometimes I get wrapped up in what I'm doing at my desk--trying to write mysteries (more about  that another day because I'm feeling optimistic) and now writing a book on chili, tentatively titled Texas Chili, Beans, and Beer (I actually do have a publisher working with me on this). I run the risk of being a recluse, though I know I need the company of others to keep me grounded. Sunday and Monday, with the unpleasant weather, I stayed in and worked--and, yes, it made Judy a dull girl.
But today I ws reminded of the value of friendship, not once but twice. Friends in the sense of people I've known and enjoyed a long time but not those who are part of my close circle of friends that I see frequently. This morning the Book Ladies met at Audi Vanderhoof's house for breakfast--the Book Ladies are a group of aging (we weren't when we started) women whose careers have had to do with books--there are librarians, two writers (including me), an editor and teacher, and booksellers. We didn't start out conscioiusly to be a women's group but that's how it happened and grew--probably over close to twenty years now. We've lost members who've moved, who've dropped out for no reason, and, with regret, several to death, including my dear friend Bobbie.
But we met in high spirits today in Audi's warm and inviting home with its many Pennsylvania Dutch touches, and she served a wonderful breakfast--fruit salad, egg and sausage casserole, crisp bacon, and all kinds of homemade rolls. Laughter dominated the table, and I was reminded that it's worth getting up early to meet this group once a month--I usually don't see any of them between meetings. Yet they have been a part of the fabric of my book life for so long.
Tonight I went to the Old Neighborhood Grill down the street from my house with neighbors Joe and Mary Dulle, again longtime friends I don't see often but like a lot. I saw people from the Berkeley neighborhood I knew and met a couple I didn't--though I was flattered that Karen had my cookbook and had fixed Doris' Casserole. Again, there was lots of laughter, some talk of city politics, some talk of aging--well, that's where we are. It was a nice way to spend an evening. Apparently this group--or whoever shows up--meets every Tuesday night. I'll go again.
That sense of friendship inspired me to come home and email two friends I don't see often enough. I'm a firm believer that you have to work at friendship, but it's so worth the effort that you put into it. So what if I didn't get any desk work done today? I'm retired. What I do, I do because I want to. And sometimes visiting with friends is more important.

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