Wednesday, March 3, 2010

About Friends, Dinner, Hair, and Katharine Hepburn

Last night I had dinner with two good friends, Tricia and Sue.  Our life circumstances, once very similar, have changed and sent us on three divergent paths.  At one point in time, we all worked within steps of each other.  We had lunch together every day.  Tricia's life was the first to change directions.  She had one child, and then another, and decided to devote herself full-time to motherhood.  Her absence from our daily lives was palpable, though we kept in regular touch.  Eventually a third baby came along.  Tricia's life changed from once arranging study abroad experiences for her students to now volunteering with her son's cooperative nursery school and keeping up with the activities of her two older children  Her joyful life has been challenged by significant illness, her husband's and her own, but you would never know it.  Tricia is one of the most positive, exuberant women I know, and spending time with her is grounding and revitalizing.

Sue is my recently-retired friend.  I've written about her before. The ease of everyday familiarity has shifted and now we have to be deliberate and intentional in spending time together in order to keep the friendship fires burning, not that our friendship is work at all.  Sue is probably one of the most thoughtful, considerate women I've ever met.  She's quietly loyal and remembers people not to be recognized for her generosity, but to let them know that she's thinking of them.  Whenever someone's going through a rough patch, she sends a card or bakes a little something.  She returns from vacations with inspired tokens of appreciation.  No matter what happens in either of our lives, it is certain that we will always be there for one another.

Last night, the three of us decided to have dinner at the Tuscan Grill in Clifton Park.  We arrived to an empty parking lot and a darkened building, which didn't seem to be a good sign on a Tuesday night.  Plan B was to find the next closest place, and just down Route 9 we found Giffy's Barbeque.  It was a good alternative.  Giffy's was quiet last night, and we were able to sit and talk long after our dinners were finished.  We talked about all the things women talk about -- kids, friends from work, health, our daily routines, and hair.  It was one of those easy conversations that go along, one subject rolling into the next, and time passing effortlessly. After a long discussion of things ranging from serious and personal to light and frivolous, Tricia was staring at my hair and said "I have to tell you, I love the way your gray is coming in..."  To gray or not to gray has always been the question, and I decided a few years back not to do anything about it, to let nature define my looks.  I know it bucks the cosmetic industry trend of its "forever young" philosophy (if not cash cow), but in my mind fighting aging is a losing battle, and why?  It's natural to grow older.  It's part of life and at some point, defying that seems, for me, silly.  My perspective isn't shared by many women, and that's understandable.   How one grows older is a very personal decision.  In my case, it's not all 'philosophy of life' that keeps me away from that bottle of hair color; it's financial, too.  Many women spend upwards of $100 to $150 plus tip every six weeks for cut and color.  There's no way.  And the idea of  having to deal with roots, especially with hair as dark as mine, is something I refuse to do.  So, this low-maintenance woman will go gray naturally, slowly, over time, and be pleasantly surprised when someone says "I love your gray."  And I'll consider Katherine Hepburn as the iconically beautiful woman who embraced all of her life with authenticity and enthusiasm.

Spending time with friends is good for the soul.

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