Nov. 14, 2016

A Reason, A Season or a Lifetime...

“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime...”

A delightful person came into my life about a year and a half ago, Elaine Holmgren, the mother of my son-in-law, Chuck, married to our oldest daughter, Leah. Elaine had been living in Lewiston, Idaho but it was getting to be too much for her, after all, she was 93! Chuck arranged for his mom to move into the beautiful new Kensington Retirement and Assisted Living facility here in Sierra Madre. Elaine had a lovely room overlooking an outdoor patio with gardens and flowers in every direction.

I met Elaine right around her 94th birthday, which was the day after my birthday. We realized immediately we were going to be best friends. And we were. I would go in to the Kensington for Happy Hour at 4:00 for a glass of wine and a chat with Elaine while an excellent pianist played songs we actually recognized, or a violinist might be playing show tunes, like songs from Sound of Music or Music Man. Sometimes we’d just sit and chat in her quiet, peaceful room. Elaine loved to read and, frequently, that’s what she would be doing when I arrived.

Our best times, though, were our special outings. We would go, every now and then to the Cheesecake Factory for cheesecake and champagne. If you have not tried cheesecake and champagne, you are missing out. Elaine was partial to the Salted Caramel cheesecake but as soon as pumpkin season started, we were all pumpkin all the time. Pumpkin cheesecake is so good it’s slightly immoral.

We would tour the town, look at everybody’s gardens and trees, bemoan the lack of water and sad appearance of many of our trees. We would talk about our families, our parents, our children, incidents from our past where we might have done better. Elaine loved to talk about her mother, who, I do believe, was a mix of Wonder Woman and the best Presbyterian church member ever wherever she went. Elaine had great stories of her youth and her mother’s exploits.

During the Halloween season, Sierra Madre has a scarecrow contest in which the town participates with great creativity. We would tour the scarecrows and the amazing pumpkin creations by our neighbors. We looked and laughed and had a great time.

Every time I appeared where she was, Elaine would greet me with an enthusiastic, “Sweetie!!” and was always glad to see me.

Elaine was in my life for a reason, to make us both laugh a lot and enjoy a little champagne from time to time. Her season with me was not nearly long enough as she left us very early last Sunday morning. I would have enjoyed Elaine for a lifetime.

If someone is in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime, take time to go have a little champagne and cheesecake with them, or a cup of tea and a muffin. But enjoy them, my friends, enjoy them.