I met Patty in high school. We were new students navigating our teenage angst in Bishop, a small town in Northern California. Winters found us bundled in down jackets, skiing the slopes of Mammoth, and summers, blasting the radio, cruising Main Street.
Like most high school friends, our paths diverged after graduation, and we left for greener pastures. In a few years, we discovered there were no such pastures and returned to the Eastern Sierra. I was a teacher and Patty, a rancher. We reconnected over llamas, she trucked to my classroom, to celebrate the letter L with my kindergartners.
When the busyness of raising children subsided, we found each other again. I visited her in Central California, and we explored the local galleries, indulged at the vineyards with her husband, and devoured Vietnamese food. She traveled to Orange County, along with her sweet dog Carly, to see me. Long coffee-driven conversations consumed our mornings and even longer ones, with wine, the evenings.
We had so much fun, we did it again. Catching our respective trains, we met at Union Station in L.A. and explored the diverse architecture, ate delicious food, shopped at funky stores, wandered the flower markets, and learned we had a penchant for rooftop bars.
Our friendship has zig-zagged through adolescence, motherhood, empty nesting, and grandchildren. Now, we are grappling with elderly parents. Patty is caring for her in-laws and lobbying me to join her with my folks!
Patty is definitely part of a life well-lived!
Happy Birthday, Patty!
M.J. Minerman writes for spinsters around the world who have "not found their lids and are pursuing lives well-lived."