FOR A GARDENER, GRAND JUNCTION IS CLOSE TO PERFECTION. So when my dear friend, Peggy, and her supportive better-half, aka---My Bad Influence, moved from a higher elevation far above Denver to this fertile river valley almost ten years ago, it was like coming home to gardening nirvana. Every morning she arises with the earliest rays of dawn, before the dry, oven temperatures heat up, to water and irrigate, mulch, weed, debug, harvest, plant and transplant--- overseeing her most splendid garden adventure. From her garden above, you can see Colorado's famed National Monument.
Who can ever understand how friendships begin or what sustains them? We met unexpectedly almost 16 years ago in the winter of 1994 in Everglades National Park at a little B and B where they and I with some other friends were staying. P and S were leaving that morning and My Bad Influence was actually packing their car to leave. As fate would have it, P and I began to chat over the community breakfast table. Afterward she asked me if I had time to sit out on the patio to continue our gabfest a bit longer. My Bad Influence was gruffly pacing the driveway, ready to leave; however, Peggy in her typical calm fashion told him to pip down for a little while....so he did. Like any good husband, he's learned when to take instruction and supervision....though he is anything but henpecked. Theirs is a marriage---a first marriage---that has survived against all odds made it and made it swimmingly. It hasn't always been easy for either one of them----both strong personalities, but to see a good pairing that only gets better is truly a wonder to behold! Both conservatives, they give each other plenty of space and also don't hesitate to reiterate their non-negotiable bottom lines when necessary.
As Peggy and I talked that morning in Florida, she discovered I lived part-time in Wyoming and issued a warm invitation for me to stop in Colorado to see them going or coming. I accepted. Then reciprocated. They began many visits to see me in Wyoming. Our friendship blossomed organically over the years and still flourishes. We did have a falling out in the early years of this decade over the silliest thing, a cultural difference. We all dug our heels in like a bunch of mules---and I can be the biggest mule in the corral---and had to take a break for several years. To this day, I think it was meant to be and once resolved and forgiven has only served to further enhanced our our long-term, enduring friendship.
Think friendships can only be solidified over time by seeing not just the best sides but also the less best of the other---when the rose colored glasses come off. We've certainly seen all sides of each other and still love our friendships. Of course, sometimes falling outs are for good, usually, I've found, when the gaps between values, morals and sensibilities are just too great. That is often as it should be.
There are no two people I care about more anywhere than these two. I am most blessed to have them in my life!
When I'm here, we come and go and give each other lots of space. There's also lots of togetherness. I often take over the cooking for Peggy when I'm here so she can do other things. We hike together and after dinner we all play games until we're too sleepy to go on. They introduced me to UPWORDS, all our favorite word game which I've taken to Wyoming and back to Tennessee to play year-round. But make no mistake: when I arrive in Grand Junction I'm red meat for these two experts. Last night, I led the game only to be taken down by My Bad Influence in the last two minutes when I made a strategic mistake. He had no mercy. Not even when I whined that he and they should be much kinder to houseguests who were acclimitizing to the altitude....
But nevermind. Soon, very soon there'll be a rematch.....and win, lose or draw I plan to give 'em a run for their money.