Cheers! Summertime is here!

June 6, 2021

My best friend Carolyn and I went antiquing in Chester Springs, Pa., over Memorial Day weekend, a pastime we have enjoyed for over 40 years. She recently moved into a different house, and her husband John insisted that she get rid of some of her own collectibles.

We drove to a place called DishFunctional where dishware is stacked on a half-acre of shelving units in dozens of numbered aisles, all organized by color.

“Look at this charming vase, Carolyn. It looks like something you would love.”

She begins to laugh. “That’s because it was mine! Remember, I told you I found a place that would take a lot of my things. How much do they want for it?”

We are both at the stage of our lives where we need to only buy food, nothing else. But soon she is in aisle 14 admiring this cute set of Jack Russell salt and pepper shakers, and telling me, “They’re only $8!”

Today, everything in the store that has flowers on it is 25% off. She is helping me find salad plates. For some reason, I think I need a few more for when I have large dinner parties.

“You don’t host large dinner parties anymore,” she reminds me.

“This is irrelevant. They have flowers on them and they’re 25% off.”

Next we were on a hunt for champagne glasses. I used to have four flutes, but they all broke. I love champagne, don’t you? We find 11 glasses. Carloyn and I take them up to the counter.

“Look,” she says to the saleslady, “They have little etched flowers on them!” The cashier clears her throat and peers closer at the glasses. Each glass only costs $2, and she agrees to the discount.

Excited about our new purchases, we head home to make floral arrangements together. Our second great love! She has bought red roses and white daisies and blue asters in honor of Memorial Day. I have packed an old cracked crock I bought for $5 on a country farm in Odessa about eight years ago.

We bring in pachysandra and ferns from her backyard. We don’t speak and are lost in the creative process while listening to the rain ping on the window. As we finish, we each dare to look at what the other one created.

“Oh, it’s so beautiful,” I tell her.

“Yours is amazing, too. Thank you. This is exactly how I wanted to spend our time together.”

Carolyn gets tears in her eyes. “It’s Memorial Day and we have lost many important people in our lives. So many young men and women aren’t here any more.”

“I know,” I say. “And I’ve lost count of how many Memorial Day weekends we have spent together. And it seems half of them were rainy and cold, too.”

“What do you want to do now?” she asks.

“Let’s open the champagne or the 60-Minute IPA we bought for John and celebrate the life we get to live,” I say.

“Great idea! Do you realize we only paid $1.50 for each glass? You could have a big party!”

I’m ready to welcome summer parties. How about you?


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