Miss Lisa

Me n Lisa.jpg

I remember this day so well. I remember there were tiny white flowers at our feet as we climbed to the peak at Deer Park. I mused aloud wondering what they were, and you answered by singing a chorus of Edelweiss from The Sound of Music. It was the perfect demonstration of your firmly held opinion that the lyrics of musicals hold the answers to everything. I suppose that is Mount Baker away off there in the distance. We are far enough north for it to be on our horizon. Port Angeles at our feet?

This was the Le Femme la Camp at which you had us decorate bowler hats you had found in the Market. I was not amused. Crafts were and are not my strong point. But I did it. Lisa Griffith, I later complained. The only woman who could make me decorate a hat in the woods.

I miss you. I have told the story elsewhere of how I sailed what I had left of you down the river to New Orleans. No, wait. I take that back. Still wearing the multi-colored fleece sweater. I remember when you took it out of your closet – you had reached the stage in your disease when you were getting rid of things – and asked me if I would wear it. Well, I wasn’t sure, but I couldn’t say no, could I? Turns out it is what I turn to first on chilly nights. Dang thing just won’t wear out, either.

Then I spotted that print of the dancing bears and said, without thinking, that I had always loved it. It’s yours, you said. I was torn between embarrassment and gratitude. It hung in my living room in Seattle for years, but now there is no room to hang it, so it languishes in the basement.

It seemed there was always too much that we didn’t have in common – too much, that is, to prevent us being besties. You were stylish, I was not. You liked Survivor, I did not. You threw Oscar parties at which we were supposed to care about people’s outfits – and I did not. We both loved smoking, but I quit and you did not. Alas. Most importantly, we were both Deadheads. Somehow, through all the differences and dissonance, we had both heard the music. We had gotten It.

So now, on the 28th anniversary of Jerry’s death (how is he, by the way?), I write to tell you how much I love the memory of you. How much I miss lifting up the telephone to hear you ask, with a slight drawl, “Miss Barbara?” You always made me feel like a belle. I can see you now, lifting a cocktail and toasting, “Here’s to us and those like us. Damn few left!”