One of life's small but important pleasures are my regular luncheon dates with my girl friends.
Today was a sidewalk lunch with Theresa. Ordering from the menu is easy. After years of lunching together we know each other's preferences, "Two glasses of water. Yes, ice and lemon, please. Two glasses of dry white wine and a tumbler of ice on the side."
And so the conversation begins: our current reading; the biography Theresa is writing and the upcoming publications her solo publishing company will soon produce; the latest in movie going followed by a lively update on each of our adult children. Friendship is toasted with a glass of Two Oceans' savignon blanc and the intricacies of mother-daughter relationships is teased out over fettucine and basil pesto sprinkled generously with parmesan cheese. We offer opinions on the economic meltdown and compliment each other on the canine virtues of our respective Labradors - her eight-month old Benjamin and my aging Trist and Gal. We philosophise about life's seasons (are we in autumn or is it still late summer?) and rejoice in each other's little miracles.
Eventually the bill is divided without a thought. The tip requires some fuzzy arithmetic to ensure our patient waiter receives his due. After all, he has hovered over us for two and half hours and managed to interject the enthusiatic dialogue twice to take our orders. At last we reluctantly part company. Where did the time go?