We’re off to Chicago tomorrow for an annual reunion of ex-ski buddies scattered across the country. There’s something so satisfying and heart warming about spending time with friends you’ve travelled with through decades of life changes.
It all started somewhere around 1987 when I met S in Boston. She was transferred there with her job, a mutual friend connected us, and we were instant friends in the way it was so easy to do in our 20′s and 30′s. Six months later I was transferred to the San Francisco area, but we kept in touch. One night she called and asked if I’d like to join her and a friend, N, for a week of skiing in Aspen. There was a day-bed in their room, mine for the asking.
Uh, yeah, I think I can fit that in my not-so-busy social schedule. Somewhere between cleaning my condo and grocery shopping.
The first day on the slopes was a brilliantly sunny day, and the snow was crisp from the cold temps the night before. At the top of the first run, we slid off the chairlift with a whoosh to see two guys getting ready for their first run of the day. We chatted, or well to be honest S and N chatted with the two guys while I waited a little impatiently about 20 feet down the slope from them. As I listened to them laughing, I clearly remember thinking this might not be the fun girls week I’d been looking forward to, and felt the beginnings of disappointment with fifth-wheel thoughts raising its head. I was never very good at the whole flirting game thing, and was pretty sure this was not the moment that was all going to change.
Eventually, we all skied down the mountain together, and caught the next chairlift back up. One run morphed into skiing together all day, which melted into dinner. Before we knew it, we spent the entire week together, with light-hearted laughter setting the tone. Instead of anyone feeling like a fifth wheel, seeds of friendship were planted that first day that immediately took root and bore the fruit of caring support through marriages, divorces, job losses, promotions, tears, frustration, and laughter.
I don’t know how many ski vacations we all ended up taking together, but at some point, one by one we stopped skiing for one reason or another and drifted apart a bit. We hadn’t seen each other in a few years until we all got together at Myles’ and my wedding. In a moment, really no longer, the years of absence fell away with the speed of shedding a coat on a warm day and it was like no time had passed at all. Since then, we’ve reconstructed our trips together by taking turns hosting the group in our hometowns each summer for a long weekend. And this weekend, S is hosting us in Chicago.
Life is unexpected at times. When I jumped at the chance to take the day-bed in S and N’s room, I had no idea I was opening my life for friendships that would stand the tests of time and change. When I decided to make the best of having two guys join us for that first run, I had no idea I was about to start one of the longest and most rewarding friendships I have today. When I need to remember to stay open to possibilities, and not jump to hasty conclusions, I pause for a moment to think of that day and all that it has brought to my life.
Cucumber and Tomato Salad in a Kefir-Onion-Dill Dressing
- 1 cup low-fat plain kefir cultured milk smoothie, unsweetened
- 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
- 2 tablespoons minced yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon mince chives
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
- Pinch each of salt, pepper, and chipotle powder
- 1 English cucumber (about 2 cups)
- 3 ripe heirloom tomatoes (about 2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon blue cheese (feta cheese works great too!)
Combine the kefir, sour cream, onion, chives, dill, and seasonings in a small bowl. Cover and chill overnight.
Cut the cucumber and tomatoes into bite-sized chunks and toss together in a bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and add the blue cheese.
Toss and serve immediately.