Day five was nice and slow. Patrick and Robin offered up their house for a pizza dinner party Monday night, but Monday day meant everybody working but me. I caught up on end-of-semester panicky emails from students and then left around noon for lunch with the wonderful company of Chryss and Barry Spacks. I parked at the beach and walked up to the UCSB campus, which I hadn't been to since I worked there at the end of the last millennium. It looked the same and strange at the same time, as though someone had reconstructed campus from faulty partial memories. The lagoon was where it was, but the Student Union seemed pressed into the wrong place until I arrived and looked out the window at the lagoon.
Then Barry walked up, whom I hadn't seen but very briefly last year, and Chryss, and everything fell back into place. Barry, who hasn't aged a day since I first met him, was wonderfully Barry, upbeat and sparkling. If he were fatter I might even call him jolly, but he's not, so witty and wise will have to do. Chryss and he joked around during our quickish lunch, and I filled them in on my weekend in LA and life in general (kids, Amy, kittens, etc.) and then I took Barry home, as Chryss had to get back to the job, and they I shopped for the evening's wine and ingredients for the homemade tapenade I offered to make to contribute to Patrick's pizza. I also found some Fontina Val d' Aosta and had to purchase just for the transmogrifying irony of it (I live in Valdosta, folks, that's in Georgia, where the favored cheese is Velveeta or other 'mer'can styles).
I headed early (though I was briefly lost) to Patrick's to help with the pizza, tour the new home and see its lovely hillside view of Santa Barbara and the ocean. But friends George, Amy, Chryss and Cattie, and Barry from the night before, along with old friends Tom and his terribly cute son and Madeleine and Bob and their lovely daughter Sophie showed up to enjoy the new home and the old friend (i.e. me). It's been nearly twelve years since I moved to Santa Barbara and met all these wonderful people and we get older and the kids grow taller and things in the body hurt more or there's less of it or it's changing color and we fumble for glasses we didn't need then and it doesn't matter because this night reprised what was best about all my time there--these friends on a warm beautiful night with food and wine and the casual poetry of hanging out and love. Thanks Patrick and Robin.
We made our way back down the hill, George, Amy, and I, and we continued a smaller version of the party until the wee hours.
(I don't remember all the wines we drank, but it would have been a fine list. I contributed an Emile Moro from Ribera, and I know George brought some fabulous wines. Remind me?)