It’s been some time since I posted, thanks to a busy life, two part-time “retirement” jobs, travel, family … the usual drill. But my latest trip, back to Washington D.C. for the first time since August 2020, reminded me how a location means people more than physical surroundings.
I stayed with an old friend, and made the circuit of lunches, walks, coffees and dinners with others. I meandered past my old house (the grass needs cutting, but they did install a cute new fence) and day-tripped up to Baltimore to see friends I’ve known since the 1990s in Montana — a day trip that turned into two days of pure fun, laughter, walks and plenty of wine.
When I returned to DC, a friend said I was glowing. I had more friends to see in DC, more plans to make and more stories to catch up on since the pandemic threw all our relationships into such turmoil.
It was a good prelude to a Northern Virginia memorial service for another friend, who while not as close, was still a valued member of a big professional group to which I belong.
Later, there was more wine, dancing and hugs.
I kept postponing my return. I drove away from where I was staying, fully intending to get on the road to Chicago then called another friend for one last coffee. She had a mutual friend staying with her, so I went over to that house, gossiped, went to a favorite bookstore (Politics and Prose, part of my personal collection of great independent book stores across the nation), and went to a baseball game (rain delay, the Nats lost, but a great time with a great friend).
Of course, good weather helps. Spring was in full bloom last week, with 80-degree temperatures, plants blossoming, pollen coating hard surfaces, pedestrians in shorts and tee-shirts. I helped my hostessing friend spread mulch in her garden space, which gives this long-time gardener great satisfaction.
I didn’t revisit the Washington Post or sites of my last beat. I loved working at the the Post, but it’s a workplace, and there’s another reporter on the job, still plugging away at some of the bigger stories that I helped break (no byline, just a credit line, but I confirmed it, enabling publication — these things matter to journalists!).
However, oddly enough, the M.C. at the memorial service recognized my name because 18 years ago I wrote her mother’s obit for the Post. She got tears in her eyes, thanking me for helping her mother get recognition for a life of service. Such a rewarding, touching conversation and my journalist friends were astonished at how much news obits matter to families, even all these years later.
Plenty to think about when I finally got in the car for the 700-mile, 11-hour drive back to Chi-town. I wish all those friends (and others in Florida, California, Montana and elsewhere) could live nearby. We all have our own lives so I’m grateful that our bonds have lasted so long, across time and miles.
Aw, Pat. Your blog was like a big, warm hug. Can’t wait to see you again.
Sounds SO wonderful!!! We are planning a similar visit to Ohio, in part to meet our new tiny cousin, Lucy Elizabeth Johnson, born March 30!! No real itinerary/plan, but probably will include gallons of coffee and cocktails!!