“An Invitation!”

Dear Good Kind People,

A very long time ago, it was my great fortune to become forever friends with Shari Hastey. We met through church and often worked together setting up, or cleaning up after, various events from women’s retreats to Young Life meetings to feeding hordes of hungry teenagers in our homes. Once, we actually dressed in band uniforms and hot pants and sang “Mr. Sandman” to some teachers at Monterey High School. I don’t remember why.

About the same time I began writing a column, Shari began fulfilling a dream called Community Partnership for Youth _ a fabulous grassroots program serving the needs of underprivileged children and teenagers on the Monterey Peninsula. If you’re not familiar with CPY check them out at www.cpy.org.

To celebrate the remarkable 25th anniversary of their founding, CPY is hosting a luncheon on Thursday, February 4, 11:30 AM at the top of the Monterey (Calif.) Marriott, in the Ferrante Bay View Room (hands down, the best view in town). Pam Dozier, an old buddy from the Herald days, will emcee. It’s going to be quite a wing-ding. [Read more…]

Happy New Year! (a note from the ghost of columns past) Jan. 7, 2016

To all my “stranger friends” who have written hundreds of emails and comments and letters and cards encouraging (or in some cases, ordering) me to find some way to continue writing my column, I want to say: THANK YOU! You are wonderful! You are the best stranger friends in the whole world! Please know that I am hip-deep in the process of working on self-syndication (argh! don’t even ask) and hope to be back with you soon. The next time I find myself hunched over a computer, working on a column, I will blame YOU! And I will love you for it. You truly are the best.

As ever,

Sharon

“My Last Column of 2015,” Dec. 22, 2015

How do you say goodbye to a friend you’ve never met?

Twenty-five years ago, when my editor called me into his office, I knew I was in trouble.

“Sorry I left early yesterday,” I said. “I’ll never do it again. After today. I have to sell hot dogs at my son’s baseball game.”

He rolled his eyes. “I want you to start writing a column.”

“About what?”

“Life,” he said. [Read more…]

“Waiting for Christmas,” Dec. 15, 2015

There he was, wrestling Christmas lights like they were alligators. He’d been itching to put those things up for weeks.

Some people seem to feel the Christmas spirit year-round. I like those people a lot. But for me, it’s hard to feel that spirit until Christmas finds me. I never know when it will happen. Only that it will. It seems doubtful, at times, but I keep hoping. And sooner or later, like magic, there it is.

Faith dims, but hope persists, singing of spring in a frozen heart like a redbird in the snow. [Read more…]

“Nana of the Pack,” Dec. 8, 2015

I call them the Boys. Technically, they’re not boys. But there’s nothing technical about losing your heart.

Oliver and Archie are my daughter’s dogs. She’s had them since they were pups. In dog years, they’re old, or as I say if asked my age: Old enough.

They are highly excitable, fiercely protective and entirely devoted to my daughter, her husband and their 4-year-old, Henry. But their personalities couldn’t be more different. [Read more…]

“Let There Be Moonlight,” column for Dec. 1, 2015

If my mother, rest her soul, were living today, she would tell you flat-out, as she often told me, that at some point in my infancy, I was moonstruck. It would explain, she said, a lot about my nature.

I never knew for sure what she meant by it. She often said outlandish things that I’ve spent a lifetime trying to unravel. Who knows? Maybe one night, gazing up at the full moon, she dropped me on my head? [Read more…]

“The Best Movie I Never Saw,” Nov. 24, 2015

My husband and I love going to movies. He took me to one on our first real date 15 years ago. For some reason, I don’t recall much about that movie. Possibly I was distracted by the fact that a man who’d been my editor and “just a friend” was suddenly, of all things, holding my hand.

He still holds my hand in movies. Other times, too. But not in the last movie we saw. Somebody was sitting between us. Talk about distracting. [Read more…]

“A Season of Thanks … and Change,” Nov. 17, 2015

Holiday traditions are like the people who keep them. Over time, they change. They aren’t perfect, nor do they need to be. They simply reflect who we are.

Every year in November, I try to remember all the countless details of doing Thanksgiving dinner for a big, growing crowd of family and friends. I’ve done it so many times it should be second nature. But I always seem to forget a few little things like the number of guests, their favorite dishes and exactly which end of the turkey am I supposed to stuff? [Read more…]

“The Everlasting Power of Kindness,” Nov. 10, 2015

The phone message was brief. Martha, my friend since we were little girls, would have preferred to speak with me personally, but I’m not always easy to reach.

She had called to tell me that her mother _ a woman I adored, who had suffered for years from dementia _ had passed away painlessly and at peace.

The news, if not unexpected, was surprising, as it often is when someone is so full of life you thought they’d live forever, and then they prove you wrong. [Read more…]

“Stories of a Friendship,” column for Nov. 3, 2015

Do you have a friend you’ve known and loved for more years than either of you care to count?

I hope so. Say her name, picture her face, recall the sound of her laughter, the color of her eyes, the way she makes you feel. When was the last time you spent an hour together? How would you describe the kind of person she is? What sort of difference has she made in your life and those of others? How do you want to remember her?

If you could tell just one story about your friendship, from all the countless memories you’ve shared over the years, which one would you choose? [Read more…]