This could sound weird but I met the best people ever when I was going through the hardest time ever. It was 2004 and I’d been diagnosed with breast cancer. I had that one thing in common with the perfect strangers who met for a few months in a support group on Tuesday nights, downstairs from the chemo room where most of us were treated.
As we moved through our treatments and surgeries we headed toward the friendships that have flourished ever since. We started making dinner and play dates. After a while we invited our spouses and partners to join us in some of our gatherings and they fell in love with each other too!
It’s not all been cheery. Our dearest Kimberly had an especially hard battle. My last hours with her were in her home in Larkspur. Several people were there. Kimberly and I were next to each other on her bed, propped against pillows, holding hands, and singing the old hymn In the Garden, our favorite. The refrain goes like this:
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
We all feel her presence when we get together as we did a couple of weekends ago out at Hog Island Oyster Company’s farm near Marshall on Tomales Bay. It was a cold, chilly day but our hearts were full and overflowing. Seventeen of us gathered around a long table for a late afternoon feast as close to the water’s edge as you can get before falling in. We had oysters galore plus platters of fabulous food that everyone brought to share. Did I mention that this group is full of foodies? It’s crazy fun! Our hosts John Finger and Debra Ruff (owners of Hog Island) treat us to this great setting at least once a year.
Getting dressed for oysters
So what does one wear to an oyster farm on Tomales Bay? LAYERS!
I woke up that morning knowing one thing: I wanted to wear a necklace that came from new friends Ginny and Kathy, the Sol Sisters (“Two of a kind making one of a kind jewelry”) that’s shown at the El Sol Vineyard in Livermore, CA. It’s a double stranded luxurious, earthly necklace that makes me swoon. The colors are deep and rich: browns and orange and gold. It feels so good to touch. This was its debut.
I needed something to wear with the necklace, obvi. I decided to showcase the jewels with a column of navy blue.
I chose my long, lean Eileen Fisher indigo jeans and my navy blue vintage Zoran heavy silk tunic. I wrapped a navy pleated scarf around my neck three times. (I’d just brought it back from Minnesota with me. It came from Mother’s scarf drawer.) I added a long navy crinkle coat by Alquema, an Australian company, which I purchased from Specialtees Boutique in Lafayette. I was navy-ed up!
More accessories needed
I needed to add more accessories. I craved shades of brown: bourbon, whiskey, rye.
I slipped on my camel Lucky boots, added a woven brown hat, my vintage alligator bag and a wide cuff that looks like wood but isn’t. Suddenly I had this delicious warm-toned Beauty Bundle. I played off the gold in the necklace with bronze bangles by Patti Crandall (from Studio Collections Jewelry in Sonoma) and my Victor Sanz gold ring with diamonds. I looked in the mirror and was satisfied, except for one thing. I decided to add one more necklace to the double stranded one. It’s just a little something that layers in so easily. I liked the tiered effect.
Friendships live on
After hours of wine, food, conversation and laughter, I can say about that day that there was a lot of joy we shared as we tarryed there, basking in the special love that comes in the pleasure of knowing each other.
I guess it doesn’t matter how you find your friends, just that you find them. I love you guys!