Nathakes knows everyone. Every walk down Michigan Avenue was a trip through her past. Kindergarten classmates, camp counselors, divorced neighbors who had moved away - they all recognized her and hugged her on our journey between work and lunch. Every single day.
We met up again today for lunch at Fred's at Barney's. A place for ladies who lunch, located on the 7th floor of the store with a view of the lake, we were disappointed to find no famous socialites drinking martinis and flashing their diamonds. Little Cuter and TBG ordered artisan pizza; the waitress encouraged them to use their fingers instead of a knife and fork. It was that kind of place.
There were seven of us around the table, and the conversation touched on friends and colleagues and acquaintances from now and then. Poor Little Cuter and SIR were subjected, once again, to a series of reminiscences with no connection to their own lives at all. The meal was fine, nothing special, and very expensive. The hostess had attitude but the chairs were comfortable and the company was outstanding, even if the kids were bored to tears.
Our lives overlap one another. Mutual friends, supervisors, colleagues, relatives... she had updates on each and every one of them. Her son is following in his father's footsteps, her daughter is on her way toward changing the world, and her little one isn't so little any more. Shlakes is still doctoring and her mother is still gallery-owning and her smile is as wide as it was 30-some years ago when I hired her.
She bought the infant Big Cuter Gap overalls with a hot pink stripe down the side. "Does the color bother you," she wondered? While it upset the saleswoman from whom I requested matching socks, TBG and I were able to enjoy the outfit without worrying about any concomitant gender identity issues for our 2 week old son. It was trendy and well-made and totally Nathakes.
She took my favorite picture of his infancy: me holding him in a Cubs cap in front of my garage. My smile merely reflected the joy she took in our love. She would tease me that the kid had a better wardrobe than I did. I could only agree. We would sit on her couch and look through her refrigerator for baby-appropriate snacks; as 20-somethings living together they didn't have much that worked for a 6 month old. She began to stock apple sauce just for our visits. That's the kind of friend she was.
She's shared her new-to-Tucson friend with me and agreed to pass on regards to those she emails and I do not. We've made plans for her to come to the desert and I know she'll drive down from the 'burbs to the city next time I'm in town.
There are some friendships that just don't realize that decades have passed between visits. This is one of them.