jayellebee's Blog

July 14, 2013

When Worlds Collide

      Some years back, Ken and I attended the wedding of a dear friend’s son.  We met her in 1973 when we bought adjacent homes in a new subdivision.  Circumstances and time led her to a number of residences in a number of states, but despite the long distances between us, our friendship deepened.  At her son’s reception, we were seated with people from across the nation who had one thing in common – we all valued having the groom’s mother in our lives.  When she spotted our table, with representatives of divergent times in her life all enjoying one another’s company, she reacted with a visible, physical jolt. 

      Yesterday, my worlds collided.  Did you hear the rumble, or was it just me? 

      blog pixEarlier in the week, a writer friend asked if I would be interested in heading up the hill with her.  The Squaw Valley Community of Writers, concluding its 43rd annual workshop, had announced free public sessions.  Amy Tan was to be one of the speakers.

      The portion of my skull directly above my eyes throbbed as I visualized variables from my life blazing toward one another.

      This newish friend and I met at a writers conference.  The two of us have become walking partners.  We turn laps around the Nevada County fairgrounds and our conversations run from current manuscript issues to family issues to politics to ….

      My first visit to the Lake Tahoe area was in the fall of 1959.  Dad had sold some mechanical equipment being installed deep within Squaw Valley in preparation for the 1960 winter Olympics.blog pix 158  He needed to make a site visit to confirm all was as it should be and took the family with him.  I had never seen snow falling prior to that memorable weekend trip.  And the lake….  The angry waves beating against the beaches sounded like we were at the ocean, not 6200 feet above sea level.

      My middle son and daughter-in-law were married at Squaw Valley a year ago.  Ken and I enjoyed the better part of a week there, what with pre-wedding festivities and post-wedding decompression.  Those days produced a deep appreciation of the area.  By the time we headed home, the mountainous faces towering above and the cold streams flowing by called my name.

      blog pix 159The couple who live two properties away from me in Nevada City, Brett Hall and Louie B. Jones, head up the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.  Brett’s father developed the program and she has now taken the reins.  I am in awe of them.  They are down-to-earth, approachable neighbors who happen to be friends with famous authors!

      My youngest son is engaged to the daughter of someone who works with Amy Tan. Ms. Tan attended a Community of Writers program before she was published, is now on the group’s Board, and has been a house guest of my neighbors.  She’s one of Brett and Louie’s famous friends. 

      So, yesterday we zipped up to Squaw.  What a privilege to live so close to such a beautiful destination.  The caress of a gentle breeze and cornflower blue skies welcomed us to the valley.  Pausing for a picnic lunch, we then wandered into Olympic House early enough to score near-front row seats for the afternoon’s activities. 

      Amy Tan arrived shortly before her talk was scheduled to begin and sat close enough to me to touch.  I summoned my courage – my life rarely involves celebrities – introduced myself and explained how we are practically related.  She took my hand and congratulated me on the engagement.

      AMY TAN SHOOK MY HAND! 

      blog pixThere….  Did you hear the thunderous, bone crushing sound of worlds colliding?  The echo in my head is deafening and the after effect of ongoing, uncontrollable broad grinning is dragging yet another aspect of my life into the picture.  My aching jaw is something I’ve mentioned to Ken, my all-time favorite (retired) dentist.  By the way, did I mention his office was on Olympic Boulevard in Walnut Creek?

      My friend and I passed a bakery on our way out of Olympic House.  The shop’s name is Wildflour, and the slogan stenciled on the window reads “Life’s a Batch, eat cupcakes.”  I purchased a Gold Medal worthy “Olympic” chocolate cupcake.  Heaven.  The treat was gone long before we arrived at theblog pix car. 

     Life’s high points pulled together to create one spectacular day.  After revisiting family memories and nature’s grandeur, enjoying friends, neighbors and six degrees of separation with a famous author, AND devouring a fabulous chocolate treat, I now understand my darling friend’s reaction at her son’s wedding reception.  Two happy women.   

      Now if my jaw would just stop aching.

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