My friend Elizabeth sat with me today on the patio and we had lunch together at 4:00. Yes, lunch. That is what time she normally eats what she calls lunch, and it worked for me. I tried to have her for her 100th birthday earlier this month but illness prevented us. The Comfort Soup I had put away into the freezer came out again and we ate it along with some sourdough bread, and Sumo mandarins that came in the mail this week. Yes, in the mail! Magical, that was.
As soon as she walked into the family room Elizabeth saw a photo of some of my grandchildren, and recalled events at church involving two of them, when they were 15 years younger. She told stories to Susan and me of the last severe drought that was also about 15 years ago, and kept me entranced as she always does with tales from throughout her life, from Hawaii, Saudi Arabia, South America and many other places she has lived or spent a lot of time.
Today I learned about how her mother detested the cold, but gave birth to my friend in high elevations of the Rocky Mountains, in icy February. When she was near to full-term the doctor said she must not ride the horse to town any longer, but rather should walk, because she was less likely to slip on the ice than the horse was.
It was balmy in my neighborhood this afternoon, especially for February! First we sat in the corner of the garden next to the manzanita bush, where eventually I want to have a bench, but where today we sat in black iron chairs. (You can see them in the upper left corner of this photo.)
Elizabeth played with her cane by dangling it around by its strap loop on the top. The neighbors on one side were playing drummy rock music in the garage. Over the fence near us children were squealing and running around. I shared stories of my Chinese neighbors in the next house from that, who have loud-laughing parties outdoors in any month of the year, and of the grandma who sings Chinese karaoke into her microphone for the pleasure of the whole neighborhood.
The fountain was gurgling, and I assured Elizabeth that yes, it is recirculating its water. (You can see how it splashes some on the ground, too.) She lamented about how the southern California swimming pools “are taking our water!” and about how all of the neighbors on her block are gone to work every weekday, not one is around. While her son is at work in the afternoons she is busy making her lunch, watching animal programs on TV, reading the Bible or doing crossword puzzles. She feeds the local animals, that is, their several cats.
Elizabeth lost her husband after they had been married 43 years, the same as me. She says that probably the Lord wanted her to know Him better on her own, and while her husband lived she didn’t put much effort into that “vertical” relationship. She is very thankful for her good life, and she reminds me of the blessings of my own. She is nice to have around.