Good friends are those people who show up after thirty years and you resume where you left off. You still laugh at the same stuff, and you remind each other of high jinx from years ago. Yesterday I heard from good friends who now live in Birmingham and have two grown daughters who weren’t even dreamed about last time we were together. They were in Black Mt. in my store while I was in Asheville on my day off. We agreed to meet for drinks at Sovereign Remedies later that afternoon and time just disappeared.
I met Jay Bender and Dominique Linchet in Charlotte where we all taught at Country Day. Jay was a recent graduate of Duke and Dominique, adorable and petite, had come to spend a year in Charlotte from Belgium and decided to stay. Years later Jay is an attorney and Dominique has a doctorate and teaches French, and their daughters are close to the ages they were when I met them at CCDS.
Jay reminded me of some of the fun times we had together. When I was still married, we hosted dinners every Thursday night at my house. There was a core of regulars of which Jay (before Dominique) was one. The regulars were encouraged to bring with them people none of us knew yet, but seemed interesting. The group grew, and luckily I had a big dining table and love to cook for a crowd.
Another incident came to mind. I worked one summer cooking at Pewter Rose, and Jay worked there too.. It was our last night at the restaurant before the school year began and we sat at the bar together commiserating about the school year to come. I kept saying I had to return home to write up a report for school about a research grant I was given for the summer, but stayed at the bar far into the night. Luckily I didn’t live far away.
I lived in Dilworth which was still rather sketchy, yet I didn’t have curtains on my windows in spite of wandering weirdoes. I hate curtains. When I got home everyone was sound asleep. I made some coffee to sober up, and sat down at my desk beside the alley window to complete the report due the next day. I sat there into the wee hours trying to write a cohesive report in the quiet house.
It must have been 3:00 AM when I thought I heard a scratching at the window. The lamp beside me, though, made it impossible to see outside. I told myself I was imagining things and went back to work. A bit later, I heard some rattling at the window, and strained to look outside. Suddenly I saw light being reflected in a pair of eyeglasses which looked exactly like those of this local weirdo who walked around in hot pants, carrying a basketball under his arm.
Once it registered in my foggy mind that Basketball Guy had been peeping at me, I let out a scream that woke the whole house. Alec, in the next room, jumped out of bed, bellowing, “What’s happening?? What’s happening?”
I yelled,”Peeping Tom! Oh my God. Call the police!”
Suddenly, we heard footsteps on the front porch, and then a knocking at the door, and we both panicked. The audacity of the guy! Why wasn’t he running away?
I made Alec go to the door, and there, looking sheepish, was Jay.
“I didn’t want to wake everyone up!” he explained. “I am too drunk to drive home and thought you’d still be awake writing your report. So sorry! I tried to be quiet and not awaken the whole house, but I need some coffee.”
The kids were awake too and wondering why I was screaming, but they were used to unusual goings on and went back to bed. The adrenalin which was now coursing through my veins helped me stay awake to finish my report, and Jay sobered up and drove home. School started the next day and we were both far from at our best.