Monday, August 08, 2011


I'm getting behind on my days here. I never mentioned the nice two days I spend in Laguna with my high school friend Jane.

Jane and I spent our years of high school laughing and reading poetry, specifically James Kavanaugh's "We've Got to Stop Laughing Like This". We were both good students but she was gung ho in service clubs while I hid in the back of the library.

Jane stayed in California and joined a sorority in college. I went off to Oregon and became the original natural girl.

And then I went to Japan.

Although I was a bridesmaid in Jane's wedding (and though still unattached I brought Tetsu all the way from Japan to give him a taste of American life!) she didn't make it to mine 6 months later... a fact that she is forever remorseful about and promises to come to Takumi or Leiya's weddings... IF they should marry in Japan.

I have never minded that Jane didn't see my wedding. It was simple and homemade. No pipe organs, no bridesmaids, no champagne. And in Japanese which probably would have made her think, "What is going on here?" It has always been so nice to meet Jane back on her own ground and every summer she LAVISHES me with good food, good conversation, presents and always something special to do.

This summer Jane and her husband invited Leiya and me to the Laguna Pageant of Masters which is a outdoor performance depicting famous artworks of the world. It is truly magical with a nearly 80 year history and the city of Laguna comes alive during the summer months when the performance is given.

Leiya and I stayed that night at Jane's gorgeous home and we all played Canasta and talked about aging parental care and Japan's earthquake. But still, for all our serious talk a lot of laughter too. Jane and I are fascinated by how the cultures we each live in have molded us and changed our ways of thinking... and yet we still have much to share and I know I have learned so much from Jane. How to have fun. How to be confident. How to be forever positive and generous.

The next day a shopping trip to Fashion Island in Newport Beach where Jane outfitted Leiya in the latest styles. I cannot shop with the abandon that Jane does and it is a real treat for Leiya to wander into stores that I steer away from or gasp when I turn over the price tags.

And then Jane bought me a pair of Uggs.

I did not want Jane to buy me anything. She has done too much already for us. She pointed out silky blouses and flowing skirts, but I am too practical.

"I'd never wear anything like that in Japan. I like my jeans and turtlenecks. I'd shock Tetsu if I came home in jeweled tank tops. I usually stay layered up and try to combat the cold weather. "

That was when we walked past the Uggs table and I didn't know what an Ugg was.

"You don't know Uggs?! Everyone knows Uggs! They are the warmest, most comfortable shoes ever! We all have Uggs in different styles and colors!"

"Why would anyone in Southern California need warm sheepskin boots? It doesn't even get cold here?"

"You must try them! They are SOOOO comfortable."

And I tried them... And Jane promptly told the shoe salesman that she was buying them... for me. And I burst into tears. Jane is really too good to me.

I am now the proud owner of Uggs.

Sometimes I hope that my kids never get married in Japan so that Jane and family will never get to Japan afterall. I'd never be able to repay Jane for all she has given me over our 40 years of friendship.

...we've got to stop laughing like this

And set some goals

Or be practical

And maybe save the world

Because someone might see us

And wonder why we're laughing

When the bankers look worried

And money's tight

(Did I tell you that your nose is bent,

That you have hound's eyes

And squirrel's cheeks

And I love you?)

James Kavanaugh

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