The other day I had lunch with my friends Bob Clayton and Ted Dreisinger. A remark made by Ted rang true. Here’s what he said:
“I haven’t made a lot of money in my life, but because of the richness of people I have met along the way and the experiences I have been blessed with, my life is an embarrassment of riches.”
There are a lot of things money can’t buy. When I was a teenager, I thought if I had a full-time housekeeper, a silver tea set and a diamond bracelet, my life would be complete. Remembering this shallow idea of what life was all about is mortifying. As far as “stuff” goes, I’ve had more than my share. Now in my vintage years, none of that matters.
The people who have walked alongside me in life are the ones I’m grateful for. A lover who introduced me to opera, something I knew nothing about. The author who encouraged me to “write like you talk” turned me into an author and a journalist.
A man I was engaged to insisted I learn to play golf even though I fought him tooth and nail. Putting up with my moaning and groaning, he persevered, spending hours with me on the golf course, dragging me out , gently explaining the right way to play.
For many years I reaped the benefits of his endless patience by playing golf thousands of times, enjoying golf courses in several cities.
Friends recommend books and films they know I’ll enjoy. Because I hate to drive, folks offer to take me places. When I’ve been ill, many people have turned up for me.
Besides my two daughters, Lizzie and Madi, and my adopted daughter, Liz Karsten, there are two people who have amazingly enriched my life.
When I was diagnosed with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease while living in Albuquerque, my brother and sister-in-law, Mel and Sally Goldberg, recommended I move to Tucson for better medical attention and lower altitude. They not only provided guidance but rented me the beautiful home I live in.
Another miracle is that Mel and Sally moved back to Oro Valley a few months ago. Although we don’t see one another often, they recently treated me to a production of “Jersey Boys” which was fantastic. Not only did they drive, but after the show we met for dinner with Jack and Lauren Duffy, their wonderful friends.
This is why my life is “an embarrassment of riches,” as Ted said. I have my family, my two dogs, a wealth of wonderful friends, my workshop students, this column, and the abundance of wildlife in my side yard. All of these things make my ordinary world a land filled with daily delight.